Published: Wed, September 12, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

South Carolina Shuts Down and Evacuates as Hurricane Florence Expands

South Carolina Shuts Down and Evacuates as Hurricane Florence Expands

Florence, a Category 1 hurricane, continued to strengthen in the central Atlantic and was expected to become a major hurricane by Monday night, the US National Hurricane Center said in its advisory on Sunday.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) began sending out coastal advisories for Hurricane Florence at 8 a.m. on September 11. Lanes will be reversed on several highways in the state. "This is not just a coastal event".

Federal forecasters expect the storm to make landfall on Friday with 130 mile-per-hour (215 kph) winds and massive waves, with rains taking a heavy toll inland.

"You may see a smaller footprint from the operations staff, but. that is what is needed at the time, at this time in the state", Byard said.

"It is an extremely unsafe, life-threatening, historic hurricane".

Cooper, the governor of neighboring North Carolina, ordered an evacuation of the Outer Banks, barrier islands that are a popular tourist destination, and parts of coastal Dare County.

"Please be prepared, be careful and be SAFE!"

Briefing from the Oval Office, President Donald Trump urged people to heed orders to evacuate, saying "if you are asked to leave, get out".

Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC, and North and SC have all declared states of emergency.

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But a weather formation known as a high-pressure ridge is parked over the U.S. East coast, preventing Florence from doing the normal turn, said University of Miami hurricane expert Brian McNoldy.

The problem lies in the topography of the land in the Carolinas. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Then come the torrents of rain.

On Tuesday, Washington D.C.'s mayor, Muriel Bowser, declared a state of emergency in the District ahead of the hurricane, effective immediately.

"Also, most storms coming into the Carolinas tend to move northward, and this storm looks like it's going to stall over the region and potentially bring tremendous, life-threatening flooding", AccuWeather meteorologist Marshall Moss said. He noted that Dominion Energy Inc's Surry plant in Virginia could also be affected if Florence turns north.

Among the things in Florence's path are at least five military bases (tens of thousands of troops and their families are evacuating), half a dozen nuclear power plants (power bosses have said they would be shut down about 12 hours before being hit), and numerous pits of industrial waste.

Forecasters and politicians pleaded with the public to take the warnings seriously and minced no words in describing the threat.

Preparations for Florence were intensifying up and down the densely populated coast.

By Saturday, total rainfall could accumulate to 20 inches (51 centimeters) - or even 30 inches in places - in parts of the Carolinas and Virginia, the NHC said.

"This one really scares me", Graham said.

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