Saturday, 17 November, 2018

LDS Church missionaries evacuated as ‘storm of a lifetime’ nears East Coast

A North Carolina hog farm and its waste lagoon following Hurricane Floyd in 1999 Marshall vs. South Carolina game cancelled due to Hurricane Florence
Cary Marshall | 14 September, 2018, 10:25

With South Carolina's beach towns now more in the bull's-eye because of the shifting forecast, OH vacationers Chris and Nicole Roland put off their departure from North Myrtle Beach to get the maximum amount of time on the sand.

Although slow weakening is expected to begin by late Thursday, Florence is still forecast to be an extremely unsafe major hurricane when it nears the USA coast late Thursday and Friday.

Industrial waste, including toxic ash from power plants, could also be spread by flooding from the massive storm, which has caused mandatory evacuations of coastal areas in both Carolinas and Virginia, the AP reports.

The storm's maximum sustained winds were clocked at 120 miles per hour (193 km per hour), down from a peak of 140 mph a day earlier before Florence was downgraded from a Category 4.

A tropical storm warning remains in effect for Martinique, Dominica, and Guadeloupe, while a tropical storm watch had gone into effect for Antigua, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saba and St. Eustatius, St. Martin and St. Maarten.

Those facing the most serious threat are in the Carolinas, as Category 4 Hurricane Florence barrels toward the coast, with an expected landfall Friday.

Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency in the state ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence, which dipped down in trajectory earlier this week.

On another barrier island just below the Bogue Banks, Steve Harrigan reported live from North Topsail Beach, where visitors and residents were largely heeding warnings from Gov. Roy Cooper (D-N.C.) to evacuate.

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Businesses across the Carolinas, Virginia and Georgia will likely suffer financial losses from the approaching storm, with ports closing, farmers moving their livestock and expected power outages that could last for weeks.

The most recent predictions no longer have Florence traveling north, along the Atlantic coast.

"I tried to stock up on water because I was going to stay initially, but then as the hurricane got closer and it was going to come close to where Lumberton was, I then made the decision to come home", Benson said.

Those risks include high winds, prolonged heavy rainfall and storm surge, he said, but the amount of each is constantly changing.

Wilmington, North Carolina, just north of where Florence appeared headed for shore, grew empty and quiet on Wednesday.

"I'm not going to put our personnel in harm's way, especially for people that we've already told to evacuate", Wrightsville Beach Police Chief Dan House said. Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storm's aftermath, it said.

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

"When Jim Cantore is in town, that means you got to get out of town", Fabian said.

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