Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Hurricane Florence now a Category 3, but remains ‘extremely dangerous’

Hurricane Florence now a Category 3, but remains ‘extremely dangerous’

It's all eyes on Hurricane Florence over the next several days.

The center said the waves were measured by satellite.

Even with some weakening that is predicted just before it makes landfall, the storm "is expected to remain a unsafe major hurricane as it approaches the coastline", the hurricane center said.

The News & Observer reports that the storm's path shifted early Wednesday and it is now bearing down on southern North Carolina and northern SC, where it could dump up to 40 inches of rain in places.

The overall trend is "exceptionally bad news", said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy, since it "smears a landfall out over hundreds of miles of coastline, most notably the storm surge".

About 1.7 million people across the three states affected - North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia - have been told to leave their homes ahead of the storm's arrival.

As of 11 a.m., the Category 4 storm had top sustained winds of 130 miles per hour and was on track to make landfall near Cape Fear, N.C., sometime Friday night or Saturday morning, and then move inland across the center of SC.

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A hurricane warning for the coast from Duck, North Carolina and the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, to the South Santee River, South Carolina. He rescinded the order for Beaufort and Jasper counties Tuesday morning, but officials have not ruled out the possibility of another evacuation order. Usually storms come to the Carolinas and mid-Atlantic from the south - and those usually curve safely out to sea.

In the first report of storm-related fatalities, a mother and infant died after a tree fell on a house in Wilmington, North Carolina, according to local police.

The shift south and west will encompass more of SC and western North Carolina.

A tropical storm watch is in effect for north of the North Carolina/Virginia border to Cape Charles Light, VA, and for Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort.

Director Tom Collins says the woman in Hampstead had a heart attack Friday morning, but emergency crews could not get to her because of downed trees in the road. As the hurricane center says, "Florence is expected to slow down considerably by late Thursday into Friday, and move slowly through early Saturday". Florence will then move generally northward across the western Carolinas and the central Appalachian Mountains early next week. With that much size and strength, even a glancing blow could be devastating - something forecasters stressed as they noted the shift in the predicted track. "It goes well inland".

Jeff Byard of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) invoked a former boxing champion to warn residents that Florence would bring "a Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast". You never know. But we know.

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