'Monster' Hurricane Florence Barrels Toward the Carolinas

Christopher Davidson
September 14, 2018

Florence is now rated a Category 3 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, but life-threatening storm surge and rainfall is still expected across portions of the Carolinas, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Wednesday. President Trump has declared an emergency in the three states and says the government is "as ready as anybody has ever been".

- Hurricane Florence continues to gain strength while steadily making its way toward the East Coast.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned residents that time was running out to seek safety from what he called a "once in a lifetime" storm.

Forecasters also said the Category 1 storm's extreme size meant it could batter the U.S. East Coast with hurricane-force winds for almost a full day.

At a separate FEMA press conference, the agency's Associate Administrator for Response and Recovery Jeff Byard said the storm's shift towards the south was not good news for people of the region.

The Category 4 storm was expected to start hitting the North and SC coasts sometime Thursday or Friday, and should make landfall near Wilmington, N.C., early Saturday morning, according to the latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center.

Wind speeds of risky Hurricane Florence decreased slightly Wednesday afternoon to 120 miles per hour according to the 5 p.m. update from the National Hurricane Center.

Roads and intersections on North Carolina's Outer Banks barrier islands were inundated.

This same area will also likely experience a prolonged period of destructive winds resulting in power outages that could last for days or weeks.

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"It doesn't look like it's going to weaken at this point", Flaherty said. Thousands of Marines and their families evacuated from Camp Lejeune, leaving the rest to dig in ahead of what could be a direct hit.

As of 11am local time (3am NZT), Florence, a potentially catastrophic Category 4 storm, was centred 785 kilometres southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, moving at 24kmh.

Hong Kong and Macau are expected to be ripped through by the storm, according to the latest trajectory through the Western Pacific.

The Post and Courier: "Charleston area should prepare for at least some flooding from Hurricane Florence" - "While predictions show Hurricane Florence heading for North Carolina, the amount of rainfall it could send Charleston's way carries a potential for flooding". Just adding up the store bases in North and SC and Virginia is an oversimplification, he argues, while his research suggests that only low- to mid-single-digit percentages of most companies' stores will be affected.

Michael Kennedy, an engineer at Boeing, said he planned to leave for his parents' home in Atlanta, Georgia.

But his partner, Emily Whisler, said she will stay at the university where she is a resident in the psychiatry program.

"They told me to bring a pillow and blanket", Whisler said.

Walking his dog along empty streets, Belli said he's well stocked with food and water.

For all other coastal counties, an evacuation went into effect Tuesday, Sept. 11 at noon.

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