Hurricane Florence evacuations expand, with 'disaster at doorstep'
16 September, 2018, 13:32 | Author: Grady King
The hurricane center is forecasting the storm to hover near the coast Saturday with winds of around 80 miles per hour (130 kph) before landfall, but with rainfall in the 20 to 30 inches (50 to 75 centimeter) range and up to 13 feet (nearly 4 meters) of storm surge.
Helene was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm Thursday. Mandatory evacuation orders have been placed for millions of people along the coast with more to possibly come as the path of the storm becomes more apparent.
"Florence was anticipated to make a steady, assured progress directly towards the Carolinas, make landfall, and move directly inland".
According to the National Hurricane Center, the eye of the hurricane will likely not blow ashore until Friday afternoon local time, after which it will then push westward and bring with it the potential for catastrophic inland flooding.
The National Weather Service is predicting "excessive" rainfall totals, potentially up to 40 inches in isolated areas, as Florence comes to crawl off the coast of the Carolinas before making landfall somewhere near the border of the two states. That's enough to fill the Chesapeake Bay or cover the entire state of Texas with almost 4 inches (10 centimeters) of water, he calculated.
Anxious about how the government will respond to Hurricane Florence's devastation? His remarks fell flat in Puerto Rico where islanders are continuing to struggle to recover a year after the Category 4 storm.
On Friday, coastal streets in the Carolinas flowed with frothy ocean water, and pieces of torn-apart buildings flew through the air.
Florence is headed straight for some of the most well-known military bases in the country. Some roads were already impassable in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
The wide storm has weakened to a Category 2 hurricane and forecasters expect top winds to drop more as it nears the shore, but they're sharing a giant dose of uncertainty.
Their entire neighborhood evacuated in Wilmington, North Carolina, David and Janelle Garrigus planned to ride out Florence at their daughter's one-bedroom apartment in Charlotte.
"There is going to be a lot of rain". Surges could reach 9' to 13' on the southeast North Carolina coast between Cape Fear and Cape Lookout, including the Pamlico and Albemarle sounds and their rivers, and 6' to 9' on the adjacent stretches of coast.
Utility crews worked to restore electricity. Meteorologists are warning residents of inland Virginia, North Carolina, and SC of possible inland flooding if the storm stalls out as many models are predicting.
About 10 million people could be affected by the storm and more than 1 million were ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia. The two-lane highway is the only route to the mainland other than ferries.
"I am anxious about what I might find when I go home, though", she said. But rail cars with vehicles bound for Charleston and export markets overseas have been moved to secure areas until the storm passes.
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EDT (1900 GMT) but already some 19,000 homes and businesses in the Carolinas and Virginia were without power by mid-afternoon. Olivia is the first tropical cyclone to make landfall on Maui in modern history, National Weather Service forecasters said .
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And it led to mixed signals from officials in SC , whose governor had canceled mandatory evacuation for several coastal counties. Rainfall totals from Hurricane Florence will top 20 inches in some areas, the National Weather Service says.
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