Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

Hurricane Florence Shifts South as Carolinas Hunker Down

A view from the International Space Station of Hurricane Florence off the US east coast in the Atantic Ocean A view from the International Space Station of Hurricane Florence off the US east coast in the Atantic Ocean. NASA Ricky Arnold AFP
Kristen Harrington | 14 September, 2018, 15:33

More than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate over the past few days, and the homes of about 10 million were under watches or warnings for the hurricane or tropical storm conditions.

Hurricane Florence is forecast to move slowly through the Carolinas and Southeast through this weekend and will cause catastrophic inland rainfall flooding, life-threatening storm surge and destructive winds.

Manure lagoons are about as pleasant as they sound-vast open-air ponds of manure located next to the many hog farms near the North Carolina coast.

While Florence is no longer considered a major hurricane, its reach has expanded, threatening residents from Georgia to Virginia. "The larger and the slower the storm is, the greater the threat and the impact - and we have that".

The National Hurricane Center is calling for 20 to 30 inches (50 to 75 centimeters) of rain in North Carolina, with spots up to 40 inches (100 centimeters).

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Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters said Florence eventually could strike as merely a Category 1 hurricane with winds less than 100 miles per hour (160 kph), but that's still enough to cause at least $1 billion in damage.

Masters said there's a tug-of-war between two clear skies high pressure systems - one off the coast and one over MI - and the more the Great Lakes one wins, the more southerly Florence will be. "We're going to stay tight and check on everybody", he said.

As the East Coast prepares to take on Hurricane Florence, the massive storm appears to be flexing its muscles in the Atlantic.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency "in light of the storm's forecasted southward track after making landfall".

The NHC said the first tropical storm-force winds of at least 39 miles per hour (63 kph) would hit the region early on Thursday with the storm's center reaching the coast Friday.

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"The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety", Deal said.

Early on Friday, the downtown area of the city of New Bern, on the Trent and Neuse rivers near the North Carolina coast, was underwater as emergency crews conducted several rescues, according to reports on social media.

Computer simulations - especially the often star-performing European model - push the storm further south, even into SC and Georgia. It's called Mother Nature.

"It's going to coming roaring up to the coast Thursday night and say 'I'm not sure I really want to do this and I'll just take a tour of the coast and decide where I want to go inland, '" said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the private Weather Underground. Mandatory evacuations have been issued for much of the SC and North Carolina coastline. It urged residents to heed evacuation orders. The four named storms in the Atlantic come as one in the Pacific is hitting Hawaii. Water kills more people in hurricanes than wind, and he said it will still be an extremely risky storm for rain and storm surge.

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