As Florence Surges Forward, Rethinking What Hurricane Preparation Looks Like

Jan Cross
September 13, 2018

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Florence had racked up winds of 130mph and is on a trajectory which suggests its centre is most likely to hit the south coast of North Carolina by Friday.

"Forecasts generally project the storm to make landfall between northern SC and North Carolina's Outer Banks as a strong Category 3 on Thursday, although shifts in the track are possible and storm impacts will expand great distances beyond where landfall occurs".

Florence weakened slightly to a Category 3 storm on a five-step scale but had maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour (201 km per hour) as of 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT), down from 130 mph earlier in the day.

The evacuations have prompted U-Haul to keep more than 90 of its storage facilities open so those leaving the path of the storm can use them for free, according to Elijah Mack, U-Haul Company of Coastal South Carolina president.

If the storm is moving west, as Florence is projected to do after making landfall near Wilmington, N.C., the right side of the storm would be to the north of the storm, NOAA said.

Almost 1000 prisoners in SC will not be moved from their cells, despite a mandatory evacuation order in the area. But the change was probably temporary and didn't do anything to lessen the danger, said Jeff Byard, an administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. "When you slow a system down that has tropical water with it, it is just going to dump rain". Up to 15-25 inches is expected in many areas where Hurricane Florence hits.

Shelves at a store in Raleigh, North Carolina, emptied of supplies as people stock up ahead of Hurricane Florence.

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So far, more than one million people along the coasts of North and SC and southern Virginia have fled.

More than 1.7 million people have been ordered to evacuate the coastline of the three states, while schools and factories were being shuttered.

Power in some areas is likely to be out for several days, and storm surge is expected to flood widespread areas, he said, including inland regions of the state.

"I'm not approaching Florence from fear or panic", said Brad Corpening, 35, who planned to ride out the storm in his boarded-up delicatessen in Wilmington. Sharp added that some areas could see flooding where he hasn't flooded before.

"All interests from SC into the Mid-Atlantic region should ensure they have their hurricane plan in place and follow any advice given by local officials", the Hurricane Center said.

Forecasters said parts of North Carolina could get 20in of rain, if not more, with as much as 10in elsewhere in the state and in Virginia, parts of Maryland and Washington DC. Florence is still a Category 4 hurricane with winds up to 130 miles per hour. As it turns into southern SC.

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