Florence to bring life-threatening storm surge

Ismael LynchSep 13, 2018

Florence could strengthen some over open water and then weaken as it nears land, but the difference won't make it any less unsafe, forecaster Stacy Stewart wrote in a National Hurricane Center discussion.

Dubbed the "Storm of a lifetime", the National Weather Service expects the hurricane to reach the Carolinas on Thursday or Friday, and may linger over the weekend - bringing with it "catastrophic" winds and flooding rainfall.

Faced with new forecasts that showed a more southerly threat, Georgia's governor joined his counterparts in Virginia and North and SC in declaring a state of emergency, and some residents who had thought they were safely out of range boarded up their homes.

Hurricane Florence is expected to bring high winds to North Carolina's coast by Thursday afternoon. Emergency managers and mayors have warned residents about the danger the Category 4 storm poses.

Tropical Storm Isaac was east of the Lesser Antilles and expected to pass south of Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and Cuba, while Hurricane Helene was moving northward away from land. "If you're in North or SC, you have tomorrow as your last day to really get out of town". Rather than pushing up toward western Virginia, the storm's center is now predicted to move across the middle of SC.

Jeff Byard of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it was imperative locals heed the evacuation warnings. "Wherever you live in North Carolina, you need to get ready for this storm now and you need to evacuate if asked to".

The hurricane's "cone of uncertainty" shifted south to contain a larger area of southeastern SC this morning - including Beaufort County. A risky storm surge will come before the massive storm makes landfall late Friday or early Saturday.

Thousands of residents in North and SC have fled their homes as Hurricane Florence, the biggest of the extreme weather conditions on the map, looks set to tear its way through the eastern seaboard.

Experts say the lagoons should be able to handle about 3 feet of rain, but hog farmers, who have been trying to pump manure out of the ponds and spray it on fields as fertilizer, aren't convinced. North and SC and Virginia declared emergencies earlier in the week.

NHC forecasts showed the effects of Florence would be widely felt, with tropical storm-force winds extending almost 300 miles across three states.

The hurricane is now a Category 4 storm, which could prove catastrophic. First, the storm is predicted to have a "life-threatening storm surge" at the coast.

"The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety ahead of Hurricane Florence", Deal said.

Coastal residents have already started leaving the shores and heading west inland, but many are finding empty gas pumps as gasoline stations are sold out of gas. "Heed those warnings and evacuate if you're in one of the zones".

"It's surreal to think we may have nothing to go home to", she said.

"Florence's track beyond Friday is still subject to major change as the weak steering currents evolve", he said.

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