Published: Thu, September 13, 2018
Research | By Sheri Schwartz

FLORENCE: Hurricane closes in on North Carolina

FLORENCE: Hurricane closes in on North Carolina

Florence, now a Category 2 storm packing sustained winds of up to 110 miles per hour, is expected to pummel the region for days, starting with heavy winds along the coast on Thursday morning. The storm was about 435 miles southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina and 470 miles east-southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

"Today is the time to get your preparedness actions complete", he said.

States of emergency have been declared in North and SC as well as Virginia as the hurricane approaches.

NOAA also released another video shot from Kermit, giving a more prolonged look at the eye of the storm.

The last time the USA capital declared a state of emergency was in January 2016 when a winter storm dubbed "Snowzilla" blanketed the capital region in knee-deep snow.

Florence is so wide that a life-threatening storm surge was being pushed 485 km ahead of its eye, and so wet that a swath from SC to OH and Pennsylvania could get deluged.

The Miami-based NHC stressed, however, that while a slow weakening is expected over the next 24 hours "Florence is still forecast to be an extremely unsafe major hurricane when it nears the USA coast late Thursday and Friday".

SC ordered the mandatory evacuation of one million coastal residents while North Carolina ordered an evacuation of the Outer Banks, barrier islands that are a popular tourist destination.

The hurricane is expected to weaken into a tropical depression as it continues westward into SC and Georgia. If it follows its most likely track, Florence will be the first major storm to make landfall so far north in the US. The storm is expected to bring catastrophic flooding and rain - something that might not be music to the ears of North Carolina lawmakers who banned laws based on the science of sea levels. "These enormous waves are produced by being trapped along with very strong winds moving in the same direction as the storm's motion".

"This morning I drove around for an hour looking for gas in Cary".

North Carolina has had this problem before.

"We are not in a flood plain and because it's not coming directly at us so I think we're going to be OK", she said.

As of Tuesday, more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out.

Nathan Deal issued an emergency declaration for the entire state to ease regulations on trucks hauling gasoline and relief supplies.

Meanwhile, the military is evacuating several of bases across the region, including the Marine Corps' Parris Island in SC and Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, the Army's Fort Bragg, in North Carolina, and the Air Force's Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia.

In Virginia, 245,000 coastal residents were ordered to evacuate including from the Eastern Shore, another popular beachfront destination. By Sunday, Florence will have dissipated to a tropical storm, and by Monday morning it will be a tropical depression.

"Rail cars with vehicles destined for export from Charleston have been diverted to secure holding areas until the storm passes", BMW spokesman Kenn Sparks said.

Most of Georgia is included in a cone of possible impact from the powerful storm, which has been downgraded to Category 3 but that is expected to cause significant damage as it moves off the Atlantic Ocean.

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