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

Georgia governor declares state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Florence

Georgia governor declares state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Florence

As of 2 p.m. EDT today (Sept. 12), Florence was a Category 3 hurricane with winds of 125 mph (205 km/h) at its location about 435 miles (700 kilometers) southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Florence is moving 16 miles per hour northwest with a maximum sustained wind of 120 miles per hour and the eye is expected to first land in southern North Carolina near the SC border.

Landfall is expected late Thursday or early Friday, and the National Hurricane Center fears the storm "will slow considerably or stall, leading to a prolonged and exceptionally heavy and risky rainfall event Friday-Sunday".

USA insurers are bracing for what could be $20 billion in losses as Hurricane Florence barrels toward the Carolinas and Virginia, bringing punishing rains and potentially deadly flooding.

The shift south and west will encompass more of SC and western North Carolina.

Further, she said there will be in increased risk for isolated tornadoes, and the potential heavy rain and wind gusts from Florence could uproot trees and cause power outages. Some of these reactors - including Duke Energy's Brunswick and Harris nuclear plants in North Carolina and Dominion Energy's Surry plant in Virginia - may be directly in the hurricane's path, Reuters reported.

On the current track, the hurricane will move over the southwestern Atlantic between Bermuda and the Bahamas and then approach the coast of the Carolinas on Thursday and Friday.

Massive waves of up to 83 feet were measured inside the storm on Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center's Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch said, citing satellite altimeter data.

Florence poses 'catastrophic' flood threat; at least 7 killed
New Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw told The Durham Herald-Sun around 5am that about 200 people had been rescued so far. Still, he said: "I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth".

The slow movement, combined with the massive amount of moisture this storm holds, will bring risky rains - from 20 to 30 inches in coastal North Carolina and 40 inches possible in isolated areas, the weather service says.

Analytics firm CoreLogic predicts that the damage from Florence could be more than $170 billion - making it the most expensive hurricane to hit the continental U.S. Gradual weakening is forecast over the next couple of days, and Helene is expected to become a tropical storm on Thursday.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has ordered the mandatory evacuation of one million coastal residents while neighboring North Carolina ordered an evacuation of the Outer Banks, barrier islands that are a popular tourist destination, and parts of coastal Dare County.

On Wednesday morning, the president urged those in the path of Florence to "get out of its way".

"Get prepared on the East Coast, this is a no-kidding nightmare coming for you". With that much size and strength, even a glancing blow could be devastating - something forecasters stressed as they noted the shift in the predicted track.

Moreover, high tides around noon and midnight these next few days will make the storm surges even worse, Samson said.

Speaking about the Wilmington area and its surrounding beaches in North Carolina, a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) official said the inland flooding threat was "extreme".

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