Georgia Gov. Deal declares state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Florence

Ismael LynchSep 13, 2018

The NHC said in a bulletin on Thursday morning at 10am BST (5am EST) that the storm was still a major risk despite it being downgraded to a Category 2 storm: "While Florence has weakened below major hurricane intensity, the wind field of the hurricane continues to grow in size".

Enough rain could fall to break North Carolina's record for a tropical storm - 24 inches - set near Wilmington during Hurricane Floyd in 1999, said Greg Carbin, chief of forecast operations at the Weather Service's national prediction center. "A NOAA buoy located about 80 miles (130 km) south of the center of Florence has recently reported sustained winds of 52 km (83 km/h) with a gust to 64 mph (104 km/h)".

"An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft that was in the hurricane until just after midnight" recorded a peak wind gust of around 150 miles per hour, according to the hurricane center. And there will be flooding in the inland areas as well.

Forecasters say Florence, the first major hurricane to take direct aim at the US mainland this year, could batter coastal areas with whipping winds, torrential rain and storm surges as high as 9 feet.

"We'll handle it. We're ready, we're able". SC has also canceled classes through at least Saturday due to the storm.

Timing: When Will Hurricane Florence Strike?

US President Donald Trump declared states of emergency for North and SC and Virginia, opening the way for federal aid.

The closer the center passes to us, the more rain & wind we'll see, the farther away the center tracks, the less rain & wind we'll see.

Duke Energy, a power company in the Carolinas, estimated that one million to three million customers could lose electricity because of the storm and that it could take weeks to restore.

Woody White, commissioner for New Hanover County, North Carolina, said: "It's going to be bad".

The storm will slow down because of pushback from a trough - an extended area of low atmospheric pressure - now over Texas, Stacy Stewart, an NHC senior hurricane specialist, said in the update. Heavy rains were forecast to extend into the Appalachians, affecting parts of Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.

The pivot in the forecasted track of Florence led Georgia's governor to declare a state of emergency for all 159 counties, home to 10.5 million people. So we could have two landfalls - one around Wilmington and then one near Myrtle Beach or even south of there.

Marshall: When should we now expect landfall along the coast? However, it was projected Wednesday that Florence would shift slightly to the south and possibly hit Georgia as well.

North Carolina's governor issued what he called a first-of-its-kind mandatory evacuation order for North Carolina's fragile barrier islands from one end of the coast to the other.

"This is a very unsafe hurricane", Mr McMaster said, adding that the evacuation order for coastal counties was "mandatory, not voluntary".

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