Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

Florence forecast to be major hurricane when strikes U.S. coast

Florence forecast to be major hurricane when strikes U.S. coast

Hurricane Florence has been downgraded to a Category 2 storm but is still considered an extremely unsafe and life-threatening storm, U.S. officials said.

"Don't concentrate on the exact forecast track of Hurricane Florence", the National Weather Service warned.

"We are prepared as a state", Farmer said, noting SC emergency officials come together every spring to go through catastrophe exercises in preparation for an event like Florence.

Duke Energy, a power company in the Carolinas, estimated that one million to three million customers could lose electricity because of the storm and that it could take weeks to restore.

Protection of life is the absolute highest priority and that's what we are doing.

As of Wednesday night, Florence's tropical storm force winds were almost 400 miles wide - or the roughly the equivalent of driving from Washington, D.C, to Charlotte, North Carolina; or from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to St. Louis; or from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for north of Duck, NC, to Cape Charles Light, VA, for Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort, and for Edisto Beach, SC, to South Santee River, SC. "We have a great emergency response team that has been fully activated", he said.

Leaders of the states in the path of the storm have warned people all week to evacuate the most susceptible areas.

"I ask all Georgians to join me in praying for the safety of our people and all those in the path of Hurricane Florence", Deal said.

"This is probably the only exercise I get this week", she said.

The National Hurricane Center expects hurricane-force winds to reach the coastline near the border of the two states by late Thursday or early Friday.

Areas along the coast from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout, NC, including the Neuse, Pamlico, Pungo and Bay rivers may experience storm surges from 9 to 13 feet.

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However, forecasters say the storm's biggest threat is how much rain it is expected to produce.

Tens of thousands of homes and businesses could be flooded in North Carolina alone, Governor Cooper said.

The eastbound lanes of several major highways have been shut to allow traffic to flow inland, but the exodus was slow along roads jammed with outward-bound vehicles. "There's nobody left to work".

And there's "a huge difference" in the size and type of damage Florence inflicts if it stays 50 miles (80 kilometers) off shore versus heading inland immediately, Landsea said. It's called Mother Nature.

In a trailer park outside Wilmington, Alondra Espinoza was preparing to leave with her two young children.

"Every opportunity I've had I have encouraged every homeowner in the state to purchase flood coverage regardless of any amount it costs", he said.

On its current track, Florence is expected to hit the Carolinas and Virginia the hardest, the NHC said.

Causey said he doesn't anticipate an adjuster shortage such as what happened past year after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, because of how close together each of those storms occurred. Water could reach up to 13 feet above ground in parts of North Carolina and rainfall totals could get up to 40 inches in isolated areas there, and up 20 inches are possible in parts of SC.

In Virginia, 245,000 coastal residents were ordered to evacuate.

US President Donald Trump promised Wednesday that the federal government was "ready" and "able" to handle Hurricane Florence, warning residents to get out of the way as the monster storm bears down on the East Coast.

Helene was weakening, however, and posed no danger to land, the NHC said, while Isaac could bring heavy rain to Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe.

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