Published: Thu, September 13, 2018
Science | By

Hurricane Florence has weakened but it will still be devastating

Hurricane Florence has weakened but it will still be devastating

The News & Observer reports that the storm's path shifted early Wednesday and it is now bearing down on southern North Carolina and northern SC, where it could dump up to 40 inches of rain in places.

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

The Category 4 cyclone is set to unleash fierce winds and massive waves as it makes landfall in North and SC and Virginia, early on Friday.

"There's very high confidence that Florence will reach the southern coast of North Carolina on Thursday night as a very unsafe major hurricane", meteorologist Bob Henson wrote on the website on Tuesday night. The forecast shows landfall occurring early on September 15, 2018 after an update indicated weather conditions would slow down the storm; the update was issued on September 12, 2018.

Smithfield Foods Inc said it would shut down the world's largest hog-slaughtering facility in Tar Heel, North Carolina, on Thursday and Friday due to the hurricane.

The storm is now classified as a "major hurricane", meaning wind speeds are greater than 110 miles per hour.

The third hurricane in the Atlantic Hurricane season, Hurricane Florence is swirling dangerously towards the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic states at 17mph.

Still, high winds will potentially inflict severe or complete damage to buildings, snap tree limbs or even uproot them, and knock power and water lines out. North and SC and Virginia declared emergencies earlier in the week. Up to 15-25 inches is expected in many areas where Hurricane Florence hits.

The hurricane is now a Category 4 storm, which could prove catastrophic.

A staggering 35 inches of rain is expected to fall once Florence has made land. "Don't plan to leave once the winds and rains start".

"When that last ferry pulls's unnerving to see it pull away and know, 'That's the last chance I have of getting off this island, '" she said Wednesday.

And experts say the storm is particularly worrisome because of the heavy rain it could drop.

On Tuesday evening, the National Hurricane Center issues storm surge warnings for the areas around the Outer Banks in North Carolina and the South Santee River in SC. But a computer simulation known as the European model predicts some places could get 45 inches.

Most of the deaths from hurricanes in recent years have come from people who stay put and get caught in the ensuing floods, retired Coast Guard Capt. Thomas Lennon tells TIME.

"It does look a bit similar to Harvey in a sense that it goes roaring into shore and then comes to a screeching stop", said MIT meteorology professor and hurricane expert Kerry Emanuel.

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