Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

As Hurricane Florence nears, expat Islander braces for storm in North Carolina

Florence now a Category 2 storm, still dangerous - USA - Chinadaily.com.cn Hurricane Florence closes in US east coast; historic rain forecast
Glenn Montgomery | 13 September, 2018, 16:25

Florence will likely raise further questions over the role of climate change, given the increase in fierce, prolonged Atlantic hurricanes in recent years. Add Hurricane Florence as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Hurricane Florence news, video, and analysis from ABC News.

Hurricane Florence, growing in size despite its weakening winds, churned ever closer to the US East Coast on Wednesday as evacuations expanded south from the Carolinas into Georgia to counter the threat of deadly high seas and calamitous floods.

Florence weakened slightly to a Category 3 storm on a five-step scale but had maximum sustained winds of 201 km/h as of Wednesday afternoon, down from 210 km/h earlier in the day. The National Hurricane Center is calling for 20 to 30 inches (50 to 75 centimeters) of rain in North Carolina, with spots up to 40 inches (100 centimeters). "Take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other risky conditions".

Since Tuesday, forecasts have shifted the storm track towards the south and southwest after it reaches the coast, which could increase the storm's severity in coastal SC through Myrtle Beach and Charleston and even into parts of Georgia.

"We are. coordinating closely with state and local officials to help ensure the safety of our employees and our property prior to the storm's landfall", CSX spokesman Christopher Smith said.

Tropical storm-force winds extended 195 miles (315 kilometers) from Florence's center, and hurricane-force winds reached out 70 miles (110 kilometers).

Hurricane Florence is predicted to creep across the coast from North Carolina to SC after making landfall late Thursday or early Friday.

Hurricane warnings continue in parts of eastern North Carolina and northern coastal SC.

Florence now a Category 2 storm, still dangerous - USA - Chinadaily.com.cn

Forecasters say Florence will likely turn to the west-northwest and west and slow down its forward motion - a situation that will bring even more rainfall to the area.

The Piedmont to the mountains will also eventually see heavy rains from Florence. A further 10 million people are now under some form of storm watch. During that time 70 to 110mph winds are expected. At least two dozen utility trucks gathered near Charlotte Motor Speedway to prepare to move in and start restoring power as soon as conditions are safe.

Mr Trump was later briefed in the Oval Office in front of TV cameras by Brock Long, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema). On Tuesday, William "Brock" Long, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said Florence "could be the most risky storm in the history of the Carolinas".

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.

Michelle Stober loaded up valuables at her home on Wrightsville Beach to drive back to her primary residence in Cary, North Carolina.

Emergency preparations included activating more than 2,700 National Guard troops, stockpiling food, setting up shelters, switching traffic patterns so major roads led away from shore, and securing 16 nuclear power reactors in the Carolinas and Virginia. It's a horrifying spectacle to behold, and the hurricane hasn't even struck land yet. It will be arriving soon.

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

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