Hurricane Florence's uncertain track sows fear; 10 million in crosshairs

Federico Mansilla
Setiembre 15, 2018

Florence is expected to remain a Category 4 storm when it makes landfall. Even if you've ridden out storms before, this one is different.

With reports of skyscraper-likes waves out at sea, the potential for historic coastal surges and rainfalls, and severe threats to vulnerable nuclear plants and other industrial waste sites-a behemoth Hurricane Florence is fast-approaching the southeastern USA coast on Wednesday as weather experts and emergency management officials intensifying their warnings about the dangers the storm poses.

At 9 a.m., the center of Florence was wobbling about 20 miles (30 kilometers) southwest of Wilmington, its winds down to 85 mph (140 kmh), according to the hurricane center.

All eyes are on Hurricane Florence as it barrels towards the Carolinas.

Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner held a press conference Wednesday morning and reiterated that Beaufort County had not changed its evacuation status.

States up and down the East Coast have a great potential for severe weather.

Faced with new forecasts that showed a more southerly threat, Georgia's governor joined his counterparts in Virginia and North and SC in declaring a state of emergency, and some residents who had thought they were safely out of range boarded up their homes.

At the White House, President Donald Trump both touted the government's readiness and urged people to get out of the way of Florence.

With South Carolina's beach towns more in the bull's-eye because of the shifting forecast, OH tourists Chris and Nicole Roland put off their departure from North Myrtle Beach to get the maximum amount of time on the sand.

"As we look back at previous events, although hurricanes making landfall in the Carolinas are rare, the losses through this triple-threat of storm surge, wind and inland flood, could also be significant", RMS said in the report.

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A storm surge warning has been issued from South Santee River, SC, to Duck, NC, and the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.

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.

Coastal streets in the Carolinas flowed with frothy ocean water, and at least 510,000 homes and businesses were without power, almost all of them in North Carolina, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks the nation's electrical grid.

Abigail Darlington, covers the city of Charleston for the South Carolina Post and Courier.

The National Weather Service said 5.25 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million live in places covered by tropical storm warnings or watches. Many major roads and arteries have reversed traffic flow to help residents evacuate quickly. So just how widespread will its impact be?

More than 1 million people have been ordered to evacuate the coastline of the three states, while university campuses, schools and factories were being shuttered.

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. Then it is likely to hover along the coast on Saturday, pushing up to 13ft of storm surge.

A Category 4 storm could devastate the East Coast, simulation shows. Tropical Storm Olivia is expected to move over Hawaii Wednesday or Thursday, KHNL reported. Isaac could bring heavy rainfall to Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe.

Hurricane Helene is moving north, where it's expected to become a tropical storm on Thursday.

We'll keep you updated on this system in the coming days.

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