Hurricane Florence weakens, US East Coast still on high alert | Infographics

Christopher Davidson
September 14, 2018

Hurricane Florence will hit the Carolinas hard, producing catastrophic flooding, "life-threatening storm surge and destructive winds", according to a report on The Weather Channel.

A hurricane warning was in effect from the South Santee River, S.C., to Duck, N.C., and in the Albemarle and Pamlico sounds. The National Hurricane Center is calling for 20 to 30 inches (50 to 75 centimeters) of rain in North Carolina, with spots up to 40 inches (100 centimeters).

The 5 p.m. National Weather Service forecast has the massive storm reaching the South Carolina-North Carolina coast starting early Friday.

"I can't emphasize enough the potential for unbelievable damage from wind, storm surge, and inland flooding with this storm", one NWS forecaster said.

Update: As of 5:30 a.m. Thursday morning, Hurricane Florence has dipped to a Category 2 hurricane strength with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour.

The storm surge risk will be highest between Southport, NC, and Surf City, NC.

Faced with new forecasts that showed a more southerly threat, Georgia's governor joined his counterparts in Virginia and North and SC in declaring a state of emergency, and some residents who had thought they were safely out of range boarded up their homes.

The hurricane was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as sluggish and unprepared for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico past year.

We started the day in Raleigh, North Carolina, where we met Gov. Roy Cooper at the state's emergency operations center.

Hurricane Florence Begins Its Assault On The Carolinas
But the Miami-based NHC stressed it remained "a life-threatening situation" due to the risks of storm surge around coastal areas. The surge will result in "large areas of deep inundation. enhanced by battering waves", the Weather Service said.

However, late Tuesday the track of Hurricane Florence shifted south, creating uncertainty over how much impact the Lowcountry counties will see from the storm.

Duke Energy Corp expected between 25 percent and 75 percent of its 4 million customers would lose power in the Carolinas.

The most recent predictions no longer have Florence traveling north, along the Atlantic coast.

Emergency preparations in the region included activating 2,800 National Guard troops in North Carolina, stockpiling food, setting up shelters, switching traffic patterns so major roads led away from shore, and securing 16 nuclear power reactors in the Carolinas and Virginia.

More than 300,000 people have already evacuated from the coast, McMaster said, and traffic on the highway was moving steadily on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, who cancelled a trip to India to return to the island to be part of the team preparing for the passage of tropical storm Isaac that was once a hurricane, also announced that schools and the public sector workers would remain home on Thursday.

First responders around the country are making their way to Wrightsville Beach.

"There's really not a lot of good news", NOAA flight director Paul Flaherty said on "Shepard Smith Reporting". "If you are on the coast, there is still time to get out safely". "Also, a little creepy".

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