Preparation And Resilience As Hurricane Florence Approaches
15 September, 2018, 20:16
As Hurricane Florence nears the U.S. East Coast, forecasters at the hurricane center are warning of a storm surge of up to 13 feet from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout, North Carolina.
Georgia joined four other coastal states issuing an emergency declaration as forecasts showed Florence dumping historic amounts of torrential rain on the southern state.
President Donald Trump touted the government's readiness and urged people to get out of the way of Florence.
Florence was a Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale with 120-mph winds on Thursday. The storm was moving northwest at 17 miles per hour (28 km/h).
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.
The rainfall will cause prolonged significant river flooding.
Life-threatening storm surges of up to 13ft were also forecast in some areas along with the possibility of tornadoes in North Carolina.
"It's a very unsafe storm", Federal Emergency Management Authority administrator Jeff Byard said. "The power will go off. Infrastructure will be damaged".
Duke Energy, the nation's No. 2 power company, said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for week.
It had sustained winds of 90 miles per hour and was moving in a northwest direction.
At Least 5 Dead from Hurricane Florence The Miami-based center says Florence is bringing "catastrophic" fresh water flooding over a wide area of the Carolinas. The hurricane center predicts as much as 101 centimeters (40 inches) of rain for some parts of North Carolina.
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Amtrak canceled its passenger rail service south of Washington, D.C., and there were almost 600 cancellations of flights arriving or departing from major airports in the Carolinas.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency "in light of the storm's forecasted southward track after making landfall".
If the European model is true or the overall trend persists, University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy said it "is exceptionally bad news, as it smears a landfall out over hundreds of miles of coastline, most notably the storm surge. he rainfall has been and continues to be a very substantial threat over the entire area". Forecasters said Florence is expected to blow ashore late Thursday or early Friday, even as President Donald Trump has declared states of emergency for North and SC and Virginia, opening the way for federal aid.
The rest of South and North Carolina as well as southwest Virginia may see up to 24 inches of rain.
In Wilmington, Solange Iliou Thompson closed down her restaurant, Indochine, because all of her employees had left the city.
"I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth", he said. "The building's solid and Buddha will protect us". A spokesman for the agency said the facility was built to withstand extreme natural events - including hurricanes and floods. "If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have minded staying here".
It's unclear exactly how many people fled, but more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out.
In Virginia, 245,000 coastal residents were ordered to evacuate.
The impact of Florence will be widespread, with destructive winds, life-threatening storm surge, risky surf, torrential rainfall, flooding and the potential for tornadoes.
Nighttime winds have gone from 140mph (225kph) to 115mph (185kph), and further weakening is expected as Florence approaches the coast.
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That means sustained winds of at least 130 miles per hour and expectations of catastrophic damage, the hurricane center says. Forecasts call for 25-38 cm of rain in the hardest-hit areas, possibly more if the storm stalls over land, as expected.
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According to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, people caught in a Category 4 storm can expect to see "catastrophic damage". A hurricane watch is in effect for the North and SC coast. "This rainfall may produce life-threatening flash flooding".
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