Hurricane Florence threatens millions on US East Coast

Muriel Hammond
September 13, 2018

For a swath of the North Carolina shore from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout, the storm surge could range from 9-13 feet, the NHC said. In South Carolina and inland parts of North Carolina, 5 to 10 inches of rain could fall, with 20 inches possible in some areas.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator Jeff Byard warned that despite its slight weakening, Florence will still be an extremely unsafe hurricane.

Officials say Hurricane Florence is likely to make landfall in southeastern North Carolina near the SC border. It is about 435 miles southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina.

At the White House, President Donald Trump urged people to "get out of its way".

The footage was captured by one of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s Hurricane Hunters, planes given whimsical nicknames that chase down storms - "Kermit" and "Miss Piggy".

"We could maybe get some outer bands or very, very outer bands of the hurricane", said Jeremy Geiger, a weather service meteorologist. In Virginia, officials have evacuated one state prison, though local jails in the affected area are planning to keep inmates in place after stockpiling food and fuel, the Virginian-Pilot reports.

Meanwhile the hurricane is forecast to dump one to two foot of rain that could cause flooding well inland and wreak environmental havoc by washing over industrial waste sites and farms.

Byard, the FEMA official, said "this storm is not going to be a glancing blow".

North Carolina electric company Duke Energy Corp is expecting between 25 percent and 75 percent of its four million customers to lose power.

Hurricane Florence, heading for the Carolinas, "will likely be the storm of a lifetime" for areas of the coast, according to the National Weather Service early Wednesday.


The slow movement, combined with the massive amount of moisture this storm holds, will bring unsafe rains - from 20 to 30 inches in coastal North Carolina, with 40 inches possible in isolated areas, the weather service says.

The last time the USA capital declared a state of emergency was in January 2016 when a winter storm dubbed "Snowzilla" blanketed the capital region in knee-deep snow.

A Hurricane Warning from Duck, North Carolina south into SC, including Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.

Still, the potential for coastal flooding remains a concern, they said. "I am going to stack it up on some cinder blocks and see if that will help", resident Austin Hembree said.

Charleston, resident William Belli said he would not be among those joining the exodus.

German astronaut Alexander Gerst posted photos of the massive hurricane, which is now a category four storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, online from space.

"I will enjoy the quiet", he said.

The hurricane is gaining pace as it heads for the Carolinas, where 1.7million people have been told to evacuate. Schools in 26 of the state's 46 counties were ordered closed from Tuesday.

For many of those under evacuation orders, getting out of harm's way has proved difficult, as airlines cancelled flights and motorists had a hard time finding gas.

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