‘Extremely dangerous’ Hurricane Florence is now packing winds of 220 km/h

Jan Cross
September 12, 2018

Motorists streamed inland on highways converted to one-way evacuation routes Tuesday as about 1.7 million people in three states were warned to get out of the way of Hurricane Florence, a hair-raising storm taking dead aim at the Carolinas with 140 miles per hour (225 kph) winds and potentially ruinous rains.

More than a million coastal residents have been ordered to leave their homes ahead of the storm's projected arrival on Thursday, with emergencies already declared in the states of North and South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland.

The storm is expected to make landfall in North and SC in the next few days, with winds of up to 220 kilometres an hour.

At 6 p.m., Virginia Tech's official football Twitter account posted a tweet reminding followers that the Hokies' football team traveled to North Carolina during Hurricane Matthew in 2016, and won 34-3.

It remains an extremely unsafe major hurricane through Thursday night.

"We have seen projections, most recently this evening, upwards of 20 inches (rain) in some areas with generally eight to 10 and 12 to 15 inches across over half the Commonwealth", said Jeff Stern, State Coordinator with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

US President Donald Trump said the "storm looks very bad" and urged people to take precautions.

Laws to combat price gouging are reportedly already in effect in North Carolina and SC, while motorists on the East Coast can expect to see gas prices spike this week due to Florence, according to AAA.

Trump has declared states of emergency for North and SC ahead of the Category 4 hurricane, which frees up help from federal agencies. While it may or may not officially become a Category 5 storm, it will still be a major Hurricane at landfall.

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Florence could hit the Carolinas harder than any hurricane since Hazel packed 130mph (209kph) winds in 1954 and killed 19 people in North Carolina.

Larger animals like those at the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk, the property of which is partly under an evacuation order, are going to ride out the storm in the indoor and sheltered portions of their enclosures.

Florence is now a Category 4 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 220 kilometers per hour (137 mph) with higher gusts - and forecasters say it is expected to gain more strength.

"The biggest hazard that we are anxious about is storm surge", he said. Unfortunately, the forecast is for the storm to stall out and drop a ton of rain in the Carolinas. "I'm also concerned for people inland who may think they will not be impacted by this event".

We can't talk about the potential impacts of this storm without talking about how many people now call the area in Florence's path home.

"This storm is unlike any of the others we faced while there".

Flash flooding and river flooding is also expected in these regions. The watch "means there is a possibility of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, in the indicated locations during the next 48 hours", the Hurricane Center said.

The NOAA says pilots are used to flying in high winds, adding that a sudden change in wind direction is what would make the flight unsafe.

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