Mass evacuations ordered as Hurricane Florence heads toward Carolinas

Hurricane Florence Is Traveling A Similar Path As A 1933 Storm That Got Very, Very Close To D.C.

Hurricane Florence Is Traveling A Similar Path As A 1933 Storm That Got Very, Very Close To D.C.

Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall either late Thursday night or early Friday morning, first touching the United States somewhere between northern SC and the Outer Banks in North Carolina. Cooper already issued a state of emergency late last week. An estimated 250,000 more people from the northern Outer Banks were due to be sent to higher ground starting Tuesday at midday.

If Florence slows to a crawl just off the coast, it could carry torrential rains up into the Appalachian mountains, causing flash floods, mudslides and other risky weather across a wide area.

A hurricane warning is in effect from the South Santee River in SC to Duck, North Carolina.

McMaster said the state will reverse lanes on four main roads - so that all lanes are leading away from the coast - to facilitate the evacuation.

The NHC also was tracking two other hurricanes farther out in the Atlantic: Category 1 Isaac and Category 2 Helene.

On Sunday, the hurricane center reported that Florence had reached sustained winds of at least 74 miles per hour to be classified a hurricane. Meanwhile, UNC, North Carolina State and Wake Forest all issued statements saying they were monitoring the storm, with N.C. State and UNC noting they were also consulting with regional authorities.

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The National Hurricane Center issued an advisory Monday that the storm is expected to approach the North or SC coast Thursday as an "extremely unsafe major hurricane".

Because Florence is expected to stall after landfall, the rain is forecast to hit the same area for a long period of time.

Preparations for Florence were intensifying up and down the densely populated coast.

Millions are being told to evacuate as the North and SC coasts prepares for the arrival of Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 storm that continues to strengthen into "an extremely risky major hurricane through Thursday night".

Classified as a Category 4 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane strength, Florence stood as the most severe storm to threaten the USA mainland this year and the first of its magnitude to take aim at the Carolinas since 1989, when Hurricane Hugo barreled over Charleston, South Carolina.

The first of the gusts could arrive in North Carolina at 8 p.m. Wednesday, the center said.

Florence barreling closer to coast of Carolinas
The entire coastlines of North and SC , in addition to some parts of southeastern Virginia, are under a mandatory evacuation plan. Utility officials have warned that widespread power outages are likely and that it could take weeks to restore electricity.

Although the focus on where Hurricane Florence makes landfall is drawing lots of attention, another looming threat could be the worst impact of this monster storm: disastrous, deadly flooding from days of relentless rain.

"I think this is very Harvey-esque", said University of Miami hurricane expert Brian McNoldy. People rushed to get emergency kits ready, map out escape routes, fill sandbags and secure their homes.

"All of the evidence points to an extreme disaster in the making in the mid-East Coast/Carolina region", said Bryan Norcross, a senior hurricane specialist with the Weather Channel. Hurricane-to-tropical-storm-force winds could extend inland, depending on the storm's track.

The storm "is too powerful and its path is too uncertain to take any chances", SC governor Henry McMaster said, issuing his state's emergency declaration.

The US president said he had spoken with governors of the threatened states, adding that the "federal government stands by, ready to assist 24/7".

Here's what David Epstein is saying about Hurricane Florence
Florence was packing maximum sustained winds of 105 miles per hour as of late Thursday morning, the hurricane center said. The new storms formed just as tropical depression Gordon left flooding and rain behind for the Gulf Coast.

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