Published: Thu, September 13, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Don't Be Fooled by Hurricane Florence Being 'Downgraded.' It's Still Very Dangerous

Don't Be Fooled by Hurricane Florence Being 'Downgraded.' It's Still Very Dangerous

Florence could strengthen some over open water and then weaken as it nears land, but the difference won't make it any less unsafe, forecaster Stacy Stewart wrote in a National Hurricane Center discussion. The forecast track has the storm stalling along the coast throughout Friday and into Saturday. The storm's 12-mph forward speed Thursday morning was a marked drop from Wednesday's 17-mph speeds.

In South Carolina, Gov. McMaster says at least 300,000 people have already evacuated. High winds, life-threatening storm-surge flooding and significant rain are expected across a much wider area, according to the NHC.

Industrial waste, including toxic ash from power plants, could also be spread by flooding from the massive storm, which has caused mandatory evacuations of coastal areas in both Carolinas and Virginia, the AP reports. That forecast area also includes part of southwest Virginia. Tropical Storm Isaac was expected to pass south of Puerto Rico, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Cuba, while Hurricane Helene was moving northward away from land. The governor added that a million or more people could be evacuated before the storm makes landfall.

And while some people may think that Florence doesn't possess the same punch Harvey did since it's only a Category 2 storm, there is a comparison: Sandy. Sixty-one shelters have opened in SC - 12 of which are designated for special medical needs - able to now accommodate more than 31,000 people.

As Hurricane Florence enters warmer coastal waters, it's possible that it could gain strength (warm water is the fuel of hurricanes), but it's still not clear whether it will push up to a Category 3 storm.

The surge will result in "large areas of deep inundation. enhanced by battering waves", the Weather Service said.

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And some of the retailers that received warning letters are still advertising and selling these products, he said. The FDA's delay on that requirement has allowed the industry to flourish with little oversight.

As it turns into southern SC.

The storm is also predicted to bring historic rainfall of up to 35 inches to the Wilmington region.

Myrtle Beach International Airport in SC has also suspended commercial operations, and urges passengers to check with their airlines - not the airport - about upcoming itineraries.

The zone where these intense winds occur will be narrow and they will last just a few hours, but the effects will probably be severe, similar to a tornado. The surge won't be as bad as it potentially could have been, however, and the winds won't be as strong. The four storms in the Atlantic come as another one in the Pacific is hitting Hawaii. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. "The combination of a unsafe storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline". The biggest problem will likely be mass power outages, he says.

A power outage model run at the University of MI projects that 3.2 million customers will be without electricity because of the storm, mostly in the eastern half of North Carolina.

The remnants of the storm could even end up bringing some drier conditions to the south west of the UK.

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