Wednesday, 20 March, 2019

Big and vicious: Hurricane Florence closes in on Carolinas

NOAA's WP-3D Orion hurricane hunting plane flies into Hurricane Florence NOAA's WP-3D Orion hurricane hunting plane flies into Hurricane
Cary Marshall | 13 September, 2018, 14:02

Coastal residents fleeing a potentially devastating blow from Hurricane Florence encountered empty gasoline pumps and depleted store shelves as the monster storm neared the Carolina coast with 140 miles per hour (225 kph) winds and drenching rain that could last for days.

"This is not going to be a glancing blow", warned Jeff Byard, an administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"We're just trying to plan for the future here, not having a house for an extended period of time", David Garrigus said. "Many more are being urged to evacuate at-risk areas voluntarily".

From left, Josh Clappsy, Blake Price, and JB Phillips remove boards from a dock in hopes to save it from rising waters in Swansboro, North Carolina, Sept. 11, 2018.

The precipitation from Florence will start midday Thursday and then it will rain for four days, said CNN Meteorologist Tom Sater.More than 1 million people are under mandatory evacuations in Virginia and the Carolinas, where up to 40 inches of rain could fall.

The storm's path put a corridor of more than 10 million people in the crosshairs Wednesday as it closed in on the Carolinas, uncertainty over its projected path spreading worry across a widening swath of the Southeast.

Trump said the hurricane would be one of the largest seen "in decades", adding that the storm would be "tremendously big and tremendously wet - tremendous amount of water".

The storm is now expected to make landfall in the lower Outer Banks of North Carolina early Friday morning or possibly stay in the ocean before making a shift to the left toward SC. Forecasters also were tracking two other disturbances. "We are planning for a hard impact of a Category 4 storm".

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A Walmart in Mt.

Now, forecasting models are showing that Florence could stall over the Carolinas due to a "blocked pattern" over the northeastern US and eastern Canada that won't allow the storm to be absorbed into the higher altitudes.

Hurricane Florence is expected to pose the greatest challenge with 380 to 635 millimetres of rain forecast and up to 1.14 metres of rain in isolated spots.

President Trump has signed declarations of emergencies for the Carolinas and Virginia after pledging the federal government's "24/7" support yesterday.

But the National Hurricane Center said Wednesday evening that the storm is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and rainfall to the Carolinas as it approaches the coast Thursday and Friday.

The National Hurricane Center expects Isaac to weaken to a tropical storm by Friday and Saturday as it moves near or south of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. "Get prepared on the East Coast, this is a no-kidding nightmare coming for you".

"Unfortunately, Hurricane Florence is setting up to be a devastating event in the Carolinas and central Virginia as well", he said.

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