Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

What Hurricane Florence Could Do to Restaurants and Retailers

What Hurricane Florence Could Do to Restaurants and Retailers

Governors of those states have already declared states of emergency, as have the governors of Virginia and Maryland.

Forecasters said Wednesday that Florence's wind field is expanding, making it a large, stable hurricane with a clearly defined eye at its center.

Meteorologists have given Hurricane Florence, which is now heading towards the U.S., a category four level strength, meaning the storm could cause major structural damage costing millions.

If some of the computer projections hold, "it's going to come roaring up to the coast Thursday night and say, 'I'm not sure I really want to do this, and I'll just take a tour of the coast and decide where I want to go inland,"' said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the private Weather Underground forecasting service.

The center of Florence, no longer classified as a major hurricane but still posing a grave threat to life and property, is expected to strike North Carolina's southern coast on Friday, then drift southwest along the shoreline before moving inland on Saturday, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami.

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. Just adding up the store bases in North and SC and Virginia is an oversimplification, he argues, while his research suggests that only low- to mid-single-digit percentages of most companies' stores will be affected. "This will allow us to take care of our community and also be prepared should the need arise to assist others", Walker said.

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National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham says damaging winds and rain could begin hitting the coast late Thursday, pushing a storm surge that could reach 13 feet in places.

A steady stream of vehicles full of people and belongings flowed inland Tuesday, and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper tried to convince everyone to flee.

All three states ordered mass evacuations along the coast.

President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency in North and SC, thus facilitating federal aid to those states.

GasBuddy.com has created a "fuel-availability" tracking system for the coastal states predicted to feel the impact of Hurricane Florence in the next four days. Up to 35 inches of rain could fall through early next week over parts of the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic states. Current forecasts call for Florence to be at least a Category 3 storm when it arrives at the Carolinas.

More than 1 million people have been ordered to evacuate the coastlines of the Carolinas and Virginia.

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