Thursday, 20 September, 2018

'This storm is a monster' - 1.7 million flee from Florence

Florence UPDATE for Friday landfall North Carolina Florence UPDATE for Friday landfall North Carolina
Stacy Houston | 13 September, 2018, 16:25

More than a million people are under mandatory evacuation orders in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia as the National Hurricane Center's latest projected track has shifted somewhat south and west, throwing Georgia into peril as Florence moves inland.

Landfall is expected late Thursday or early Friday, and the National Hurricane Center fears the storm "will slow considerably or stall, leading to a prolonged and exceptionally heavy and risky rainfall event Friday-Sunday".

The National Hurricane Center said it had winds of 210 kilometers (130 miles) per hour and a threat of "life-threatening storm surge and rainfall".

Duke Energy officials say Florence will knock out power to an estimated 1 million to 3 million customers in North and SC.

"The closer we get to Thursday and Friday, the better idea we'll have", said Gardner.

City officials have lowered the water levels at Lake Johnson, Lake Benson and other reservoirs to absorb as much water as possible from the storm, Hall said.

Georgia joined four other coastal states issuing an emergency declaration as the latest forecasts showed Florence dumping historic amounts of torrential rain on the southern state. "It's a big one", he said at the White House.

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"Florence is a large hurricane", the 5 a.m. update on September 13 noted. The two hardware chains said they sent in a total of around 1,100 trucks.

We only need to remember that tropical storm Irene was not a hurricane when it created tremendous damage to homes and covered bridges in Vermont in 2011.

Besides inundating the coast with wind-driven storm surges of seawater as high as 4m along the Carolina coast, Florence could dump 51-76cm of rain, with up to 101cm in parts of North Carolina, the NHC said.

"We are already experiencing heavily impacted traffic on some of the evacuation routes", said Jeff Byard, the associate administrator for response and recovery at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The power is going to be off for weeks. Authorities in Chatham County, Georgia, which borders SC and includes the historic port city of Savannah, urged residents who feel unsafe "to evacuate as they see fit".

The storm's winds may have weakened in recent days - they are now at 110mph (175km/h) - but there are fears Florence's slow-moving nature could bring different problems.

He said: "We are ready but this is going to be one of the biggest ones to ever hit our country". The GFS model has 20 or so inches of rain falling over the next couple of days and you can see how that rain accumulates over time. And if local officials recommend evacuation, evacuate immediately.

Forecasters said parts of North Carolina could get 50 centimeters of rain, if not more, with as much as 25 cm elsewhere in the state and in Virginia, parts of Maryland and Washington. "I encourage Georgians to be prepared for the inland effects of the storm as well as the ensuing storm surge in coastal areas".

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