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

'Monster' Hurricane Florence Barrels Toward the Carolinas

'Monster' Hurricane Florence Barrels Toward the Carolinas

More than 5.4 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches on the US East Coast, according to the NWS, and another four million people were under a tropical storm watch. But despite that, bad things can happen when you're talking about a storm this size.

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg told CNN on Wednesday that the almost 135,000 residents of his historic coastal city should leave now before the storm arrives later in the week.

The threat has sparked a rush of evacuation efforts in SC and North Carolina, with more than a million people urged to get out of Florence's way.

The eastbound lanes of several major highways have been shut down to allow for a smooth flow of traffic inland.

There is increased fear that Florence "will slow considerably or stall, leading to a prolonged and exceptionally heavy and risky rainfall event Friday-Sunday", the NHC said Tuesday.

Forecasters are predicting that Florence will make landfall in the Carolinas late Thursday or early Friday as a still powerful Category 3 hurricane.

The center of the Category 4 Hurricane, still swirling with top winds of 130 mph (215 kph), was about 530 miles (855 kilometers) southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, approaching the coast at 17 mph (28 kph). Hurricane warnings are issued 36 hours before tropical storm force winds hit the areas.

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

"We are sparing no expense".

Speaking in the Oval Office alongside Trump, FEMA administrator Brock Long said Florence may be a "very devastating storm".

A photo of George Brown, 90, is pinned to his shirt along with personal information before he is evacuated with fellow residents from a healthcare home in Morehead City, N.C., on Wednesday as Hurricane Florence approaches the east coast. But it's such a large storm that the rain will keep coming down in the region no matter where it wanders.

"This storm is going to be a direct hit".

If Florence stays on it's current path, the now - category 2 storm will make landfall along the Carolina coastline Friday morning, meteorologists said.

"On the forecast track, the center of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas today, and approach the coast of North Carolina or SC in the hurricane warning area on Thursday and Friday".

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Meteorologists are warning of potentially catastrophic flooding in the area, with isolated amounts of up to 40 inches of rain expected in parts of SC.

Streets were quiet with schools and many offices and businesses closed. "Everyone was sold out", she said. Let me briefly explain what they mean.

Charleston, resident William Belli said he would not be among those joining the exodus.

Typhoon Mangkhut is estimated to have caused $250 million worth of damage to the Phillipines with rice and corn crops bearing the brunt of the storm.

Grace Beasley said: 'I'm now in the Philippines and the country is making huge preparations for typhoon Mangkhut, which has already caused devastation to Guam'.

In Virginia, mandatory evacuations began Tuesday for about 245,000 residents in a portion of the Eastern Shore area.

Brunswick County also opened its own shelters at three high schools on Tuesday.

"This storm is a monster", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said.

"Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion", the agency says.

Florence, one of the strongest storms on the Eastern Seaboard in decades, is a strong Category 2 hurricane with winds of 110 miles per hour.

Florence is expected to dump 15 to 25 inches of rain, with isolated areas reaching 35 inches, across the Carolinas and into other mid-Atlantic states "late this week into early next week", the NHC said.

Motorists drive down I-40 westbound as the eastbound road is empty in advance of Hurricane Florence near Suttontown, North Carolina.

Tennessee, Kentucky and Georgia may also feel the impact of Hurricane Florence.

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