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

Beaufort County still not under mandatory evacuation despite changes to Florence forecast

Beaufort County still not under mandatory evacuation despite changes to Florence forecast

The eastern United States braced yesterday for the impact of "major" hurricane Florence as it threatened catastrophic flooding in areas already soaked by heavy rain.

Governors in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia have declared states of emergency in preparation for Florence.

The slow-moving storm, the most severe hurricane to threaten the US mainland this year, was rated a Category 4 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale and located about 905 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, at 11 a.m. EDT, according to the NHC.

Mandatory coastal evacuations were in effect for civilians in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, but the military base posted on Facebook that different chains-of-command would decide whether to release non-essential personnel, and some relatives vented fears that they wouldn't be able to evacuate in time.

A mandatory evacuation order takes effect Tuesday at noon in eight counties along South Carolina's 187-mile coastline.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said an estimated 1 million people would be fleeing his state's coast, with eastbound lanes of Interstate 26 heading into Charleston and US 501 heading into Myrtle Beach reversed to ease the exodus.

The National Weather Service says more than 5.4 million people live in areas now under hurricane warnings or watches on the U.S. East Coast.

Weather models have Florence striking the Carolina coast as a category 3 hurricane.

Crystal Kirwan didn't see she had much choice as she got her family ready to leave their home Monday on the coast of North Carolina, with Category 4 Hurricane Florence threatening the state. North Carolina seems to be the state that could bear the brunt of the winds, along with SC and parts of southern Virginia. "Everyone in Virginia needs to prepare".

A Category 5 storm means it has sustained winds of 157 miles per hour or more.

Hurricane Florence Looks Super-Scary When Seen From Space
NASA shared photos Wednesday showing the risky storm from the International Space Station. A view of Hurricane Florence from the International Space Station.

Simpson said his office had already begun planning for the impact of the hurricane.

For many people, the challenge could be finding a safe refuge.

All signs pointed to a stronger, slower, wider and wetter hurricane in the days ahead, forecasters said.

On Monday Florence had strengthened into a category 4 hurricane. Justin Kibbey also recalled the distinctness of the storm's eye.

Tropical-storm-force winds, which are predicted to blow between 60 and 70 miles per hour in Davidson County, are expected to reach the area by Thursday morning.

On the county level, Hanes had a conference call with the state's emergency management department midday Monday and said another local meeting would be held Tuesday morning to will include representatives from area school systems, the Department of Transportation, all municipalities, emergency departments and utility providers.

Jones urged Chatham County residents to continue to monitor Florence and be generally prepared for hurricanes with a hurricane kit, shelter-in-place supplies and an evacuation plan.

My people just informed me that this is one of the worst storms to hit the East Coast in many years.

Hurricane Isaac is moving toward the Caribbean and could make landfall Thursday as a Category 1 hurricane.

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