Published: Wed, September 12, 2018
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Savage, soaking Hurricane Florence nears Carolina coast

Savage, soaking Hurricane Florence nears Carolina coast

Regardless of what happens as Florence roars toward the coast, Cantore said he is confident she is going to be one for the books.

Florence is still a Category 4 hurricane with winds up to 130 miles per hour.

Boeing Co suspended work on Tuesday at the SC plant where it assembles 787 widebody jetliners, and a Volvo automobile plant in South Carolina's evacuation zone was also closed, company officials said.

Ahead of Florence's arrival, barrier islands were already seeing unsafe rip currents and seawater flowed over a state highway - the harbinger of a storm surge that could wipe out dunes and submerge entire communities.

Several inches of rain will fall across the state. Information gathered Tuesday by a hurricane-hunting aircraft suggests it will intensify again as it nears the coast, approaching the 157 miles per hour (253 kph) threshold for a worst-case Category 5 scenario.

The National Hurricane Center said in its 8 a.m. advisory that Florence will move west-northwestward between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Wednesday.

A line of heavy traffic moved away from the coast on Interstate 40, the main route between the port city of Wilmington, North Carolina, and inland Raleigh.

He added: "The waves and the wind this storm may bring is nothing like you've ever seen".

"This is not a storm that people need to ride out", Cooper told reporters. "Don't bet your life on riding out a monster", he said.

Forecasters said hurricane-force winds will be blowing ashore early Friday as Florence stalls along the coast before dumping a torrential 1 to 2 1/2 feet (0.3 to 0.6 metres) of rain.

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. He said the federal government is "absolutely, totally prepared" for Florence.

The storm surge from Florence will be at its worst just to the east of the eye.

Florence is so wide that a life-threatening storm surge was being pushed 300 miles ahead of its eye, and so wet that a swathe from SC to OH and Pennsylvania could get deluged.

Residents prepared by boarding up their homes and stocking up on food, water and other essentials, stripping grocery store shelves of merchandise.

More than 1.5 million residents have been ordered to evacuate already. Now a Category 4 storm, it's possible that it could strengthen even more as it moves swiftly through the Atlantic Ocean.

As of early Wednesday morning, Hurricane Florence had weakened slightly with sustained winds of 130mph, but this is of little effect as the track forecast now shows a risky stalling out near the coast, or just onshore by late Thursday or Friday morning. More than a dozen such Superfund sites in and around Houston flooded a year ago in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, with spills of potentially hazardous materials reported at two. Shutdowns also were possible at two more plants in the path of predicted hurricane-force winds.

ABC reported that most of the hurricanes that make landfall in America, start as thunderstorms over Africa.

But new research says that as the climate continues to warm, storms will do it faster and more often, and in some extreme cases, grow so powerful that they might arguably be labelled "Category 6". The vast stretch of a water body, high temperatures, and high air pressure above the thunder clouds are the factors that help to sustain a hurricane. Some of the pits were inundated during past storms, including during Floyd and Hurricane Matthew in 2016. "And as the hurricane approaches, we anticipate more support will answer that call to care for the needs of our citizens".

What is in Hurricane Florence's way?

The latest rainfall potential map issued by the National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center shows a portion of North Carolina receiving in excess of 20 inches of rain.

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