Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Science | By

US East Coast braces for "life-threatening" Hurricane Florence

US East Coast braces for

Hurricane-force winds caused by Florence were getting closer to the North Carolina outer banks and coastal southeastern North Carolina, the NHC said, adding that life-threatening storm surge and rainfall was expected.

In the 11 p.m. ET advisory, Florence was 280 miles southeast of Wilmington, NC, packing maximum-sustained winds of 110 mph and moving to the northwest at 17 mph.

A storm surge of nine to 12 feet (2.7-3.6 metres) was expected along the North Carolina coast, Goldstein said, and some areas could receive as much as 40 inches (one metre) of rain.

Areas along the coast from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout, NC, including the Neuse, Pamlico, Pungo and Bay rivers may experience storm surges from 9 to 13 feet. Its maximum sustained winds dropped slightly from 110 miles per hour earlier Thursday to 105 miles per hour, but the storm remains a Category 2 hurricane that is expected to cause widespread catastrophic damage. The slow forward motion means Florence will batter the area with heavy rainfall, producing up to 40 inches in coastal North Carolina and northeastern SC.

President Donald Trump both touted the government's readiness and urged people to get out of the way. "Don't play games with it".

"We'll probably move some of our bigger trucks in front of the building to try to stop some of the debris", said Terrell Small, the new-car sales manager.

More than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out. Home Depot and Lowe's activated emergency response centers to get generators, trash bags and bottled water to stores before and after the storm. But forecasters also said the opposite could happen when it brushed up against strong wind shear.

When flight operations can resume will depend on how long Florence sticks around, and forecasters predict it could sit and drench areas of the Carolinas with a deluge of rainwater over a couple of days.

A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) aircraft set out to inspect the storm on Wednesday, finding the cyclone has decreased in ferocity slightly. "I'm going to get killed on the road,"' Bradley said.

Evacuation orders for low-lying areas were issued Monday and continued Tuesday. The storm is expected to make landfall early Friday morning near Wilmington, North Carolina. Unsure of what they might find when they return home, the couple went shopping for a recreational vehicle. "We just need to figure out how to make it through".

Melody Rawson evacuated her first-floor apartment in Myrtle Beach and arrived at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia, to camp for free with three other adults, her disabled son, two dogs and a pet bird.

She said: "Helene is moving up from the Atlantic towards us".

Tropical storm conditions are possible within the tropical storm watch areas, also beginning later this morning local time. The hurricane center is giving the system a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm within the next five days. It could stall just off the coast and then drift south along the SC coast and possibly make a landfall as a weaker system if it doesn't make it clearly over the coast of North Carolina.

"The longer it stays, the more wind, the more rain".

"It's been really nice", Nicole Roland said.

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