Hurricane Florence bears down on Carolinas

Trump declares administration ‘completely ready’ for Hurricane Florence | TheHill

The outer reaches of Hurricane Florence began lashing coastal North Carolina with heavy winds and flooded roads on Thursday ahead of an expected landfall that will bring walls of water and lingering downpours to parts of the US East Coast. More than one million people had been ordered to evacuate the coasts of North and SC and Virginia and thousands moved to emergency shelters, officials said.

The hurricane is located about 165 miles (270 km) east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with maximum sustained winds of 105 miles per hour (165 km per hour), it added.

Just as Hurricane Florence closes in on the Southeast, the area covered by hurricane-force winds has doubled - meaning far more people will get blasted with winds topping 73 miles per hour.

But North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned: "Don't relax, don't get complacent".

Florence's hurricane force winds now extends 80 miles from the center, while the tropical storm force winds reaches almost 200 miles, according to the National Hurricane Center.

After forecast models showed steering currents collapsing as the storm nears the Carolina coast Tuesday, forecasters shifted the track slightly south. The more it hovers just off shore, the more potentially deadly storm surge it could push on-shore.

The hurricane centre's best guess was that Florence's eye would blow ashore as early as Friday afternoon (Saturday NZT) around the North Carolina-South Carolina line.

People in areas vulnerable to the unsafe hurricane, particularly those in coastal regions, have fled ahead of the storm.




About 5.25 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million in places covered by tropical storm warnings or watches, the National Weather Service said.

In addition, the threat of storm surges looms for areas in the path of the storm, meaning life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland is possible in the next 36 hours. Parts of North Carolina could get 40 inches (1 meter) of rain. "We're kind of at the mercy of the storm". The storm surge could rise up to 13 feet - that's water inundating homes up to the first-floor ceiling, the National Hurricane Center said.

Roslyn Fleming, 56, said her granddaughter was baptized in the inlet near where she lives in the coastal community of Sea Breeze and on Thursday morning she used her iPad to make a video of the scene.

And while the millions affected finalize their emergency plans, try to, um, shoot the weather into submission (please don't do this), and hopefully take the official advice to get the hell out of its path, even more have been watching Florence's trajectory and forecast via online tracker sites and apps.

Where exactly the zone of heaviest rain sets up as the storm meanders inland is more uncertain, but models suggest that it may concentrate in southern North Carolina and northern SC through the weekend. "Once the storm moves further inland to Atlanta and Charlotte, the biggest issue will be rain and thunderstorms", she said. Roper St. Francis spokesman Brian DeRoy said all of their major facilities will be open during the storm, but they ask patients with procedures scheduled to call and confirm.

Officials say people refusing to evacuate could end up alone, drenched and in the dark, as rescue crews won't go out to help in winds above 80 km/h.

A hurricane warning is in effect for South Santee River, SC, north to Duck, NC, and the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.

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