Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

Hurricane Florence’s uncertain track sows fear; 10 million in crosshairs

Hurricane Florence’s uncertain track sows fear; 10 million in crosshairs

Florence is now a Category 4 storm on the five-point Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale and is forecast to slam into the Carolinas late Thursday or early Friday.

In the 11 p.m. ET advisory, Florence was 280 miles southeast of Wilmington, NC, packing maximum-sustained winds of 110 mph and moving to the northwest at 17 mph.

"But it's possible the eye of Hurricane Florence will take a slight right turn to the south on Friday as it makes its way over eastern North Carolina, which could send a lot more rain to the Charleston area, according to Neil Dixon of the National Weather Service in Charleston".

"Heed the warnings", Mr Byard said.

"The big picture: There are several characteristics of the changing climate that are helping to increase the risks of damage from Hurricane Florence, even though global warming is not directly causing such a storm to spin up".

The storm's first casualties included a mother and her baby, who died when a tree fell on their brick house in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Residents are running out of time to evacuate before Hurricane Florence roars in to North and SC bringing potentially deadly flooding, officials warn.

Up to 1.7 million people are under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders, and coastal residents were frantically boarding up homes and businesses and hitting the road on Wednesday as the storm approached.

People fleeing coastal North and SC clogged highways early Wednesday as Florence bore down on the coast for a direct hit in a low-lying region dense with beachfront vacation homes.

Five dead as Hurricane Florence downgraded to tropical storm
Forecasters said "catastrophic" freshwater flooding was expected along waterways far from the coast of North and SC . Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles.

Crews also prepared 16 nuclear reactors in the three-state region for the storm. North Carolina corrections officials said more than 3,000 people were relocated from adult prisons and juvenile centres in the path of Florence, and more than 300 county prisoners were transferred to state facilities.

"The time to prepare is nearly over", said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper at a Wednesday morning news conference.

The storm was heading for the coast of the two states but heavy rain was also expected in Virginia to the north and Georgia to the south.

The storm surge, or wind-driven seawater, poses a huge danger, FEMA Administrator Brock Long warned on ABC's "Good Morning America".

The storm's centre is expected to slow when it reaches inland, meaning it could rain for days in places and some areas could see three feet of rain. She said it will become a "major flooding event".

To back up that point, Graham cited a sobering statistic: "50 percent of the fatalities in these tropical systems is the storm surge - and that's not just along the coast".

As Florence closed in, President Donald Trump and state and local officials urged residents in the path of the storm to evacuate before it was too late. The storm's forecast has shifted southward in the last 24 hours.

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

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