North Carolina coast feels Florence’s first blast of wind, rain

Vehicles were directed onto U.S. 501 in Myrtle Beach S.C. Tuesday. The state government ordered traffic to use all the lanes on the route leading away from the coast to facilitate evacuations ahead of Hurricane Florence

Previously classified as a Category 4 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane strength, Florence is so far the most severe storm to threaten the United States mainland this year and the first of its magnitude to target the Carolinas since 1989 when Hurricane Hugo barreled over Charleston, South Carolina.

The National Hurricane Center's best guess was that Florence's eye would blow ashore as early as Friday afternoon around the North Carolina-South Carolina line.

Tropical Storm Florence continued to dump torrential rainfall on the Carolinas, posing a deadly flooding threat for millions.

"I'm not going to put our personnel in harm's way, especially for people that we've already told to evacuate", Wrightsville Beach police chief Dan House said. He added later, "Most of the fatalities in these tropical systems is water".

The mayor of Myrtle Beach says her city has done as much as it can to prepare for Hurricane Florence.

Whether you're hunkered down in the Carolinas or following the storm's movements from afar, there are many ways to watch Florence live as it creeps over the ocean and begins to hit land.

Hurricane conditions will likely hit the Carolina coast on Thursday night or early Friday.




It has become likely that the storm will reverse course early next week and turn back north toward West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, albeit significantly weakened.

Hurricane warnings are in effect for the South Santee River in SC to Duck, North Carolina, and Albemarle and Pamlico sounds.

He urged people in the coastal Carolinas and living near inland rivers to evacuate now. If the storm makes landfall as a Category 2, these winds will be damaging, sustained at up to 160km/h or so with higher gusts. The New York Times reported that Duke Energy, the Carolinas' major power supplier, said as many as 3 million people could lose power. The storm is moving northwest at 17 miles per hour (27 kph).

The National Hurricane Center says the outer rain bands of Hurricane Florence are approaching the coast of North Carolina. The trend is "exceptionally bad news", said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy, since it "smears a landfall out over hundreds of miles of coastline, most notably the storm surge".

The latest rainfall projections warn of 20-40 inches of rain from coastal North Carolina into northeastern SC - amounts that could bring "catastrophic flash flooding", the hurricane center said.

Cooper also announced there are 2,800 National Guard troops in different staging areas of North Carolina. Parts of the Carolinas could see 50 cm to 76 cm, with isolated areas getting 101 cm, over seven days along the coast.

Hurricane Florence is continuing to push towards a landfall around the North Carolina/South Carolina border, and is beginning to lash the central Atlantic seaboard with damaging winds and storm surge.

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