Sci-tech

Hurricane Florence still poses grave threat despite weaker winds

Hurricane Florence still poses grave threat despite weaker winds

Hurricane Florence is blasting toward the Carolinas, carrying sustained winds of up to 125 miles per hour and the threat of "life-threatening storm surge and rainfall", the National Hurricane Center says.

As of 11 a.m. EDT Wednesday, the eye of the storm was about 485 miles miles southeast of Wilmington, N.C., and 520 miles east-southeast of Myrtle Beach, S.C. It was moving west-northwest at 15 mph and recorded maximum sustained winds of 130 mph, the NHC said. Its maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly to 110 miles per hour.

Highways clogged with people fleeing North and SC early Wednesday as monstrous Category 4 Hurricane Florence rumbled toward the eastern United States as the biggest storm there in decades.

"This will likely be the storm of a lifetime", the National Weather Service in Wilmington, North Carolina said.

Hurricane Florence, growing in size despite its weakening winds on Wednesday, crept closer to the U.S. East Coast as disaster mobilizations expanded south from the Carolinas into Georgia to counter the deadly threat of high seas and floods.

While many coastal residents heeded mandatory evacuation orders, others boarded up homes and businesses and chose to fearless the storm, which is forecast to trigger severe flash flooding as it dumps as many as three feet (almost a metre) of rain in some areas.

The center said the storm would dump as much as 40 inches (102 cm) of rain along coastal areas of the Carolinas, as well as up to 10 inches in southwestern Virginia.

While those in Hurricane Florence's path are stocking up on necessities, companies around the country are gearing up to help in the storm's wake.

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Note in the models how the Florence storm track now dips south and west after landfall in the Carolinas - a rare move for a hurricane approaching in the Atlantic so far north and west.

Forecasters are predicting that Florence will make landfall in the Carolinas late Thursday or early Friday as a still powerful Category 3 hurricane.

"Historical rainfall amounts from #Florence are possible with UNPRECEDENTED flooding", according to the National Weather Service office in Newport and Morehead City, on North Carolina's coast.

For anyone needing a place to stay to escape the hurricane, both North Carolina and SC are updating their lists of emergency shelters.

As of Tuesday, more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out. In North Carolina, Cooper says, "2,800 soldiers will be on active duty, joined by even more on standby".

Officials in New Hanover County, which includes Wilmington, have stockpiled enough food and water for 60,000 people for four days, along with more than 28,000 tarps. As the hurricane center says, "Florence is expected to slow down considerably by late Thursday into Friday, and move slowly through early Saturday". The most of the storm's impact is expected to hit on Thursday night.

"This storm is going to be a direct hit", he added.

To back up that point, Graham cited a sobering statistic: "50 percent of the fatalities in these tropical systems is the storm surge - and that's not just along the coast". Jeff Byard of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) invoked a former boxing champion to warn residents that it would bring "a Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast". Even if you've ridden out storms before, this one is different. "We know there's probably going to be loss of power for a number of days".


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