Hurricane Florence Charleston: Latest Forecast & Track

Lewis Collier
September 14, 2018

According to the U.S. National Hurricane Center, Florence is expected to make landfall near Cape Fear, North Carolina, whose river was forecast by Monday to reach two feet above the record level it hit during Hurricane Floyd in 1999. FEMA officials wrote on Twitter people should not focus on the category of the storm - as of Thursday morning, Hurricane Florence was a Category 2 storm, indicating slower wind speeds - but rather should pay attention to the fact there will be extreme flooding in the Carolinas as a result. "You have the rain, you have the storm surge". GETTY IMAGES |AFPAbout 1.7 million people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia are under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders and millions of others live in areas likely to be affected by what officials called a "once in a lifetime" storm.

In its 0300 GMT advisory, the National Hurricane Center said the maximum sustained winds of Florence were 90 miles per hour (150 kilometers per hour), dropping it to the weakest of five categories on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

Officials said people refusing to evacuate could end up alone, drenched and in the dark, as rescue crews won't go out to help in winds above 50 miles per hour.

"This storm will bring destruction", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said.

He spent the last few hours of calm before the storm visiting those who stayed, collecting contact information for their next-of-kin. "Today the threat becomes a reality".

Despite days of warnings to evacuate, some residents are staying put - even if they don't want to.

Don't relax, don't get complacent. What's more he said, there are the animals themselves: possibly thousands of dead pigs and chickens that could wind up washed into the river, bringing with them further contamination.

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He said the region could see long-term damage to its water quality from the animal waste that gets caught up in the flood. "I am frightened about what's coming. We just want prayers from everyone".

Hurricane Florence was more recently downgraded to a Category 2 storm. Highway 12 is still closed in Dare County.

At least 150,000 people were without power in North Carolina early Friday with the brunt of the storm yet to come, according to utility companies. Meteorologists at the National Weather Service's Wilmington office are waiting for the National Hurricane Center to confirm the track of the eyeball, which typically has the storm's strongest winds.

Storm surge is deadly. Heavy rains were forecast to extend into the Appalachian mountains, affecting parts of Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.

"It can not be emphasized enough that the most serious hazard associated with slow-moving Florence is extremely heavy rainfall, which will cause disastrous flooding that will be spreading inland through the weekend", the National Hurricane Center said in its 5 a.m. update. Some 3,000 people died in the aftermath of that storm.

"Because of the slow movement of the storm, the rain is going to have plenty of time keep piling up", said Feltgen.

Trump provided no evidence to support his challenge on Maria. On Wednesday, officials said some of those shelters were at capacity, but in a statement early Thursday, county officials said they were "able to mobilize additional resources to accommodate the need for shelter space". By Friday morning Florence had already sapped power to almost 450,000 customers in the Carolinas, emergency officials said.

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