Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Astronaut takes photo showing power of Hurricane Florence from space

Astronaut takes photo showing power of Hurricane Florence from space

Florence had maximum sustained winds of 215km/h and is on a trajectory that shows its centre most likely to strike the southern coast of North Carolina by late Thursday or early Friday local time, the National Hurricane Center said on Wednesday.

The National Hurricane Center forecasts additional strengthening for Florence before it reaches the coastline of North Carolina and SC early Friday, Sept. 14. "In addition, the storm's slow track will promote a prolonged period of hurricane force and tropical storm force winds, maintaining a high probability of widespread power outages for areas in Florence's path".

Hurricane Florence has been forecast to smash into North Carolina between Thursday and Friday but forecaster Janice Dean said there is uncertainty about the exact path the storm will take. Coastal North Carolina may receive up to 40 inches (100 centimeters) of rain, the National Hurricane Center said.

The time to prepare is nearly over, he said. About 3000 people died in the aftermath of that storm. In South Carolina and inland parts of North Carolina, 5 to 10 inches of rain could fall, with 20 inches possible in some areas. "It's sort of like having 33 weather stations out in the middle of the ocean", said flight director Richard Henning.

"He was thinking of coming here until this morning, and now he asked me if I wanted to come up there", he said. At 8 a.m. (1200 GMT) on Wednesday the storm was located about 530 miles (855 km) southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina. By Sunday, Florence will have dissipated to a tropical storm, and by Monday morning it will be a tropical depression.

Lauren Hancock, a resident of Wrightsville Beach in the state's evacuation zone, said: "I'm looking across the street at a gas station, and it's a madhouse".

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"When it comes to surge and it comes to flooding, you can either build up higher or you build back from the water", Susan Millerick of the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety said.

As Florence closes in on the U.S. East Coast, its track has shifted slightly to the south, threatening to batter a wide swath of coastline as it makes landfall near Myrtle Beach.

The National Hurricane Center projects rainfall anywhere from 5 to 20 inches across SC.

The effects of storms can ripple throughout the economy, especially if some companies hit by the hurricane are crucial suppliers to other firms, said Gary Love, vice president of operations underwriting at FM Global.

Gerst photographed the storm 400 kilometers, or 248 miles, above the eye.

"This rainfall would produce catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding", the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

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