Published: Wed, September 12, 2018
Money | By Armando Alvarado

NYC task force heading south to aid residents ahead of Hurricane Florence

NYC task force heading south to aid residents ahead of Hurricane Florence

With maximum sustained winds near 130 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center, Florence's most unsafe aspect could be the amount of rain it could dump as it moves up the East Coast after making landfall, with flooding and power outages expected across the Carolinas, Virginia and West Virginia early on.

Interested in Hurricane Florence?

Its centre will move between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday and approach the coast of SC or North Carolina on Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said.

Florence's centre was expected to move over the Atlantic Ocean between the Bahamas and Bermuda on Tuesday and Wednesday before approaching North and SC on Thursday. Helene is expected to continue strengthening over the next two days as it rolls west and become a major, Cat 3 hurricane with sustained winds of 115 miles per hour. A hurricane watch was in effect for Edisto Beach, South Carolina, to Virginia's southern border, with the first hurricane-force winds arriving late Thursday.

The governor of neighbouring North Carolina also ordered an evacuation of the Outer Banks, barrier islands that are a popular tourist destination, and parts of coastal Dare County, while a state of emergency was declared in Virginia.

In addition to flooding the coast with wind-driven storm surges of seawater as high as 12 feet (3.7 m), Florence could drop 20 inches to as much as 30 inches (51-76 cm) of rain in places, posing the risk of deadly flooding miles inland, forecasters said. Florence is expected to dump up to 30 inches of rain over parts of North Carolina, Virginia and northern SC through Saturday.

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Hurricane Florence churned Tuesday toward the U.S. Eastern Seaboard as a storm of "staggering" size, forcing a million people to evacuate the coast. In Virginia, almost a quarter-million people have been ordered to evacuate from the shore. The watch "means there is a possibility of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, in the indicated locations during the next 48 hours", the Hurricane Center said.

There was little change in Florence's track during the 11 a.m. forecast from the National Hurricane Center.

"We've taken a look at the potential automotive impact and, thankfully, believe the loss in total will be manageable", Cox Automotive said, adding that vehicle density in Florence's current path is about half that of Houston.

"This storm is going to get stronger before it makes landfall", CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said. "That, folks, is extremely life-threatening". This includes cities in the path of Florence such as Wilmington and Cape Hatteras in North Carolina and Norfolk, Virginia.

Two other storms were spinning in the Atlantic as the 2018 hurricane season reaches its peak.

Last year, Harvey made landfall north of Corpus Christi, Texas, then stalled over the Houston area, dropping as much as 5 feet of rain across the metro area.

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