'Life-Threatening\' Hurricane Florence Now Forecast to Bring \'Catastrophic\' Flooding

Muriel Hammond
September 15, 2018

"On the forecast track, the center of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas through Wednesday, and approach the coast of North Carolina or SC on Thursday".

This satellite image offers a sobering look at the category 4 storm as it barrels toward the Carolina coast, with Myrtle Beach and Wilmington expected to take a direct hit from the storm.

North Carolina and North Carolina State canceled high-profile home games against ranked non-conference opponents and Virginia moved a home game to Nashville, Tenn., on Tuesday due to the approach of Hurricane Florence. Although North Carolina is still expected to see the worst of the storm, a more southern track would mean that states further north - like Virginia - could be spared of some nasty weather.

A hurricane warning remains in effect for all of the N.C. coast and into SC.

The storm is forecast to make landfall in the Carolinas as a strong Category 3 sometime late Thursday or early Friday.

Winds are expected to pick up and peak at around 150 miles per hour (241 kph), just shy of Category 5 status.

"With this storm, what's unique is it's forecast to stall. dropping copious amounts of rainfall across the Carolinas and into Virginia", Long said. After that point, it would be hard for people in the storm's path to either finish preparations or flee affected areas.

"The levels are in pretty good shape to handle the rain, but it all depends on how much rain we get", Ashby said.

Virginia is moving its football game against OH to Nashville, Tennessee due to Hurricane Florence's approach. It will possibly weaken somewhat as it nears land - but that will hardly change the flooding threat.

'We have guard members preparing throughout the state, ready to meet the requests from our partnered agencies and emergency managers, ' said Army Maj. Gen.

By Saturday, total rainfall could accumulate to 20 inches (51 centimeters) - or even 30 inches in places - in parts of the Carolinas and Virginia, the NHC said.

While much of the attention on Hurricane Florence has been centered around its potentially devastating effects on the coast, officials are warning area residents it could have significant impact in Stokes County.

"There's 25% more people living between Charleston (South Carolina) and Morehead City (North Carolina) than there were when Hugo was making landfall", Myers said.

"The governor said that North Carolina is the bull's eye of this hurricane", Larry Wooten, president of the North Carolina Farm Bureau, said in an interview.

"Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls".

If maps of Florence's trajectory are correct, it will become the most powerful storm to strike the Carolinas in almost three decades. All could face widespread "power and communication outages, impassable roads filled with debris and numerous large trees snapped and uprooted along with fences and roadway signs blown over".

The tristate area continues to be among the most costly for motorists, with New Yorkers paying an average of $3.00 per gallon and CT paying $3.04 per gallon.

The storm's first effects were already apparent on barrier islands as risky rip currents hit beaches and seawater flowed over the road.

Florence catapulted from a Category 2 to a Category 4 hurricane over the span of several hours.

The hurricane center is continuing to forecast very unsafe storm surge and rip currents kicked up by the storm for the entire N.C. coast.

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