States Prepare for ‘Storm of a Lifetime’ as Hurricane Florence Looms

Jan Cross
September 13, 2018

Many, however, weren't taking any chances.

"Florence is intensifying", said North Carolina's Governor Roy Cooper, adding: "This storm is strong, and its gettings stronger".

The evacuations continued as the storm weakened slightly Wednesday afternoon to Category 3.

Tropical storm-force winds extended 195 miles (315 kilometers) from Florence's center, and hurricane-force winds reached out 70 miles (110 kilometers). "Don't bet your life on riding out a monster".

As it nears the coast, the storm's forward motion will slow to a crawl, but the winds and rain will continue full-strength.

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.

Fierce winds and massive waves are expected to lash the coasts of North and SC and Virginia even before Florence makes landfall by early Friday, bringing a storm surge as much as 13 feet (4 meters).

A state of emergency has also been declared in Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington. But getting out of harm's way could prove hard.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, concerned the storm would bring devastation south, issued an emergency declaration for all 159 counties in his state.

While some of the computer forecasting models conflicted, the latest projections more or less showed the storm shifting southward and westward in a way that suddenly put more of SC in danger and imperilled Georgia, too. Parts of North Carolina could get 1m of rainfall. "Everyone was sold out", she said.

Decreasing modestly in strength but expanding in size, Category 3 Hurricane Florence is less than 48 hours away from making landfall on the Southeast American coast with catastrophic impacts, from damaging winds to flash flooding to widespread power outages.

Wilmington, North Carolina, just north of where the hurricane is expected to come ashore, was sunny around midday on Wednesday as the town appeared to be emptying.

Florence's nighttime winds were down to 115 miles per hour (185 kph) from a high of 140 miles per hour (225 kph), and the Category 4 storm fell to a Category 3, with a further slow weakening expected as the storm nears the coast.

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Doug Lewis (L) and Chris Williams use plywood with the words "Looters will be shot" to cover the windows of Knuckleheads bar as they try to protect the business ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence on September 12, 2018 in Myrtle Beach, United States.

Federal officials begged residents to put together emergency kits and have a plan on where to go. It's going to destroy infrastructure. "Now it might be time for the exam", Baxley said late in the morning.

"Today's the day", he said.

"Heed the warnings", Mr Byard said.

The storm is expected to hit the Carolinas hard later this week. Prisoners were kept at Orleans Parish Prison in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina despite a mandatory citywide evacuation, and many faced grueling conditions as the prison flooded with filthy water while food and water proved scarce or nonexistent. We live in a wonderful place but that's the cost of living here'.

Rain measured in feet is "looking likely", he said.

There have been warnings that any flooding of hog manure pits, coal ash dumps and other industrial sites could have a lasting effect on communities, with tainted water possibly washing into homes and drinking supplies.

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Kevin Miller, a 50-year-old electrician, said he planned to ride out the storm at his home near Charleston.

"It's been really nice", Nicole Roland said.

Florence is the most unsafe of three tropical systems in the Atlantic.

About 1.7 million people have already been told to leave their homes in the latter three states, but some who thought they were safely out of the path of the storm are now desperately working to board up their homes and businesses before its arrival.

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