Published: Thu, September 13, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

Hurricane Florence's uncertain track sows fear; 10 million in crosshairs

Hurricane Florence's uncertain track sows fear; 10 million in crosshairs

Closing in with terrifying winds of 125 miles per hour and potentially catastrophic rain and storm surge, Florence is expected to blow ashore Saturday morning along the North Carolina-South Carolina line, the National Hurricane Center said.

Hurricane Florence is now a massive Category 4 hurricane. The majority of the storm surge and rainfall issues are expected to remain for southeast North Carolina down into Charleston.

Packing maximum sustained winds of 140 miles per hour (225 km per hour), the storm ranked as a Category 4 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale and was expected to grow stronger and larger over the next few days, the NHC said.

The coastal surge from Florence could leave the eastern tip of North Carolina under more than 9ft of water in spots, projections showed.

Meteorologists are warning of potentially catastrophic flooding in the area, with isolated amounts of up to 40 inches of rain expected in parts of SC. More than 1 million residents have been ordered to evacuate from the coastline of the three states, while university campuses, schools and factories were being shuttered.

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Hurricane Florence in the Atlantic Ocean as it threatens the US East Coast.

More than 10 million people are under a storm watch or warning in Virginia and the Carolinas, where up to 40 inches of rain could fall. That funding can not be spent on disaster response, they said. These conditions could persist this weekend depending on the track of Florence.

Jeff Byard of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it was imperative locals heed the evacuation warnings.

This remarkable satellite image shows Hurricane Florence is one of just nine potentially risky storms now circling around the world. "We are totally prepared".

More tips on hurricane preparation can be found at the National Weather Service's website.

The force of Hurricane Florence | Register
Communities could lose electricity for weeks, Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long said. Winds along the Carolina coast will reach tropical storm-force (39 miles per hour) early Thursday morning.

Privately, you may be wondering (and you wouldn't be alone): "What exactly is storm surge?"

"Honestly, it tears me up thinking that what if in the end of this, this is all we have left", Jones said.

Florence is the most risky of three tropical systems in the Atlantic.

"A motion toward the northwest is forecast to begin by this afternoon and continue through Thursday", the hurricane center says.

North Carolina officials evacuated long-term care facilities and hundreds of prisoners in vulnerable areas, and also closed state parks, museums and other attractions. Depending on how much water was pushed ashore and the area's watershed, it may hang around, causing further damage to communities.

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President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency in North and SC, thus facilitating federal aid to those states. It is not expected to impact the United States coast. A steady stream of vehicles filled with people and belongings is moving inland.

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