As Hurricane Florence nears Carolinas, 1 million told to evacuate

11 September, 2018, 08:10 | Author: Angel Logan
  • Hurricane Florence causing 85-mph winds, will become major hurricane Monday

With sustained winds howling at almost 220km per hour, Florence was upgraded to a Category 4 by the National Hurricane Center yesterday, as the tempest churned about 965 kilometres southeast of Bermuda and headed toward the East Coast.

The governors of North and SC and Virginia have all declared states of emergency ahead of the approaching storm.

The center of the hurricane is forecast to move across the Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas tomorrow and Wednesday (Sept. 11-12), before approaching the southeastern coast of the US on Thursday.

A Category 4 on the five-level Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale, Florence was 525 miles south-southeast of Bermuda and the center of the hurricane was forecast to pass between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its 5:00 pm (2100 GMT) advisory. Georgia, West Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Delaware, New Jersey, southern Pennsylvania, and eastern Tennessee, Kentucky, and OH could also see strong winds.

"Take steps now", said North Carolina governor Roy Cooper over the weekend. "Our top priority is the safety and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches, fans and the lives of those in the path of this storm". By evening, the storm was centered about 1,170 miles (1,880 km) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, the NHC said.

September 10 is the peak of the hurricane season in the Atlantic and the time when the strongest hurricane develop.

As of 11 a.m., Florence had a maximum wind speed of 115 miles per hour, bringing it to major hurricane status.

As forecasters closely monitor the exact track of Hurricane Florence, there is growing certainty that Eastern North Carolina will see significant impacts from the storm.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. The state's emergency management division has posted additional information on the evacuations and how to prepare.

Residents as far north as Virginia were warned that Florence could bring a life-threatening coastal storm surge, as well as inland flooding from "prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall", the NHC said.

In South Carolina, where 1 million residents have been ordered to evacuate, distributors were sending out gasoline supplies to prevent stations running dry.

Florence is moving toward the west-northwest near 9 miles per hour. Starting then, all roads on I-26 and Route 501 will be directed away from the coast, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said.

Hurricane Isaac - which late Sunday became the fifth hurricane of the season - is heading west towards the Caribbean. Forecasts call for 25-38 cm of rain in the hardest-hit areas, possibly more if the storm stalls over land, as expected.

Many newcomers have moved to the coast in the almost 19 years since the last strong hurricane - Floyd - threatened the area.

"It's too early at this point to be precise with how these impacts are going to stack up", he said, "but there is a huge potential someone is going to sustain devastating impacts as a result of this storm".

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