UNC Storm Surge Expert Warns Of Potentially 'Catastrophic' Florence

15 September, 2018, 00:51 | Author: Jacqueline Daniels
  • Hurricane Florence was clearly visible from the International Space Station on Monday

Motorists streamed inland on highways converted to one-way evacuation routes Tuesday as about 1.7 million people in three states were warned to get out of the way of Hurricane Florence, a hair-raising storm taking dead aim at the Carolinas with 140 miles per hour (225 kph) winds and potentially ruinous rains.

The severity of Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 storm, is intensifying and triggering hurricane warnings along the coasts of the Carolinas, the National Hurricane Center announced in its 5 a.m. Wednesday update.

As a result, the coastal Carolinas will suffer more than 24 hours of hurricane-force winds and storm surge, CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen said.

President Donald Trump declared states of emergency for North and SC and Virginia, opening the way for federal aid.

Now, Hurricane Florence threatens to make it three out of four years that a major storm dropped heavy rains and flooded farms and fields with potentially season-ending devastation.

The storm is forecast to make landfall in the Carolinas as a strong Category 3 sometime late Thursday or early Friday. Even normal water is warm enough for a storm to form there, but this adds to the storm's fuel and its rainfall. As much as 10 to 20 inches (250-500mm) of rain is forecast from the Carolinas into Virginia as the storm stalls inland.

#Florence is now a powerful Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour.

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"Inland flooding will be a major threat and something people far from the landfall location should be concerned about", Miller said.

The hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to November 30, when the waters of the Atlantic Ocean are warm enough to produce tropical cyclones.

Hurricane Florence continues to churn toward the US mainland with potentially highly destructive winds and enough rain to thoroughly drench and possibly flood much of Eastern North Carolina.

In addition to flooding the coast with wind-driven storm surges of seawater as high as four metres, Florence could dump 38-64cm of rain, with up to 90cm in some spots, forecasters said.

In addition to Florence, the Atlantic Ocean now has two other strong storms.

- Hurricane conditions are expected late Thursday night into Saturday morning.

"We are sparing no expense".

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On Parris Island, South Carolina, recruits were ordered evacuated from the Marine Corps' biggest training installation on the East Coast.

"We do know that we're in the bulls-eye", said North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper.

The president said the "federal government stands by, ready to assist 24/7". He declared states of emergency for North and SC, which frees up help from federal agencies.

"First and foremost, our thoughts are with everyone who may be affected by this storm", UCF athletic director Danny White said in a statement.

A four-person, emergency operations center support team from the New Orleans Fire Department is also planning to deploy to North Carolina.

The hurricane center predicts a "heavy rainfall event, which may extend inland over the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic for hundreds of miles".

According to AAA, the storm "will likely have an impact on East Coast gas prices this week should the storm follow its projected path".

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"We are in a very deadly and important game of chess with Hurricane Florence", South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said at a Tuesday news conference. "If we try to leave, we'll just get stuck in the rain", she said.

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