Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

Hurricane Florence likely to track over South Carolina, Cause Rain in Triad

Hurricane Florence likely to track over South Carolina, Cause Rain in Triad

Hurricane Florence is expected to being heavy rain and strong winds to the coasts of North and SC as early as Thursday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) is forecasting.

More than a million people have been ordered to evacuate coastal areas ahead of the arrival of Florence, which boasts sustained winds of 130 miles per hour.

Florence will weaken once it stops drawing energy from warm ocean waters, but it's still expected to make landfall late Thursday or early Friday as an extremely unsafe major hurricane.

"This rainfall would produce catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding", the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

The Category 2 storm is expected to make landfall around Wilmington, North Carolina, but the massive hurricane will have a major impact along a long stretch of the North and SC coasts.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper predicted that tens of thousands of homes and businesses would be flooded in his state.

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As Hurricane Florence continues to move toward the northwest at 15 miles per hour, we will see an increase in wind speed and rain chances starting Thursday morning.

Meteorologist Sandy LaCorte said the 11 a.m. forecast did not change much from the one six hours prior, and that the track takes the unsafe storm right through the heart of SC.

The National Weather Service said 5.25 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million live in places covered by tropical storm warnings or watches.

The hurricane could also produce heavy and excessive rainfall - up to 40 inches in isolated areas in the Carolinas and anywhere between 6 to 12 inches elsewhere in the Appalachians and Mid-Atlantic region.

Hurricane Florence is seen from the International Space Station as it churns in the Atlantic Ocean towards the east coast of the United States, September 10, 2018. Some of these reactors - including Duke Energy's Brunswick and Harris nuclear plants in North Carolina and Dominion Energy's Surry plant in Virginia - may be directly in the hurricane's path, Reuters reported.

Some fluctuations in strength are expected through Thursday morning.

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News that the storm could plow through SC after landfall came shortly after McMaster lifted his mandatory-evacuation order for Beaufort County and many other areas south of Charleston.

"Rather than a very narrow and intense band of winds, the winds are slightly weaker - but [they] cover a much larger area", NHC senior hurricane specialist Stacy Stewart said on Wednesday.

On Wednesday morning, Florence was extending hurricane-force winds outward up to 70 miles from its center, with tropical-storm-force winds up to 175 miles outward. Forecasters also were tracking two other disturbances.

If anyone left out there doubts Florence's sheer capacity to wreak havoc in the coming days, this NOAA satellite image (from former NASA scientist and Professor Marshall Shepherd) should do the convincing.

The impact of storm surge on the coast will depend on whether the storm's arrival coincides with high tide.

Jeff Byard of the Federal Emergency Management Agency invoked a former boxing champion to warn residents that Florence would bring "a Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast".

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Forecasters said "catastrophic" freshwater flooding was expected along waterways far from the coast of North and SC . USA media said a fifth death may have occurred when a man tried to connect two extension cords in the rain .


"But despite that, bad things can happen when you are talking about a storm this size", he added.

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