Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Search-and-rescue team from Maryland heads to SC before storm

White House Buckles in For Hurricane Florence 'GET OUT OF ITS WAY!': 'Monster' Hurricane Florence aims to drench Carolinas
Kristen Harrington | 15 September, 2018, 22:23

More than a million people have been ordered to evacuate coastal areas ahead of the arrival of Florence, which boasts sustained winds of 130 miles per hour.

The threat has sparked a rush of evacuation efforts in SC and North Carolina, with more than 1 million people urged to get out of Florence's way. The Category 4 storm is likely to produce "catastrophic" flooding in the eastern Carolinas, as well as destructive winds.

Landfall is expected late Thursday or early Friday, and the National Hurricane Center fears the storm "will slow considerably or stall, leading to a prolonged and exceptionally heavy and unsafe rainfall event Friday-Sunday".

CNN reports dire word from FEMA associate administrator Jeff Byard, who warns that this storm is not to be reckoned with. The power is going to be off for weeks.

At 2 p.m., the storm was centered 435 miles southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, moving at 16 mph.

Across the Carolinas, Virginia and Georgia, businesses are bracing for the economic damage Hurricane Florence is expected to inflict on the area.

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Meteorologists are warning of potentially catastrophic flooding in the area, with isolated amounts of up to 40 inches of rain expected in parts of SC.

"Forecasts generally project the storm to make landfall between northern SC and North Carolina's Outer Banks as a strong Category 3 on Thursday, although shifts in the track are possible and storm impacts will expand great distances beyond where landfall occurs".

The eastbound lanes of several major highways have been shut down to allow traffic to flow inland, but the exodus was slow along roads jammed with outward-bound vehicles.

"If I need to evacuate I can go to my son's house", Sparks said as he carted a load of water bottles to his vehicle. Three college football games with Top 25 teams have been called off: East Carolina at No. 11 Virginia Tech, No. 15 West Virginia at NC State and No. 18 Central Florida at North Carolina.

"That's why we opened an hour later, because we had to clean up all our bedding", Charlebois said while standing in the dining room, which by Friday morning teemed with customers while rain poured outside.

"I do worry though about people here because many didn't prepare, you know, because originally they didn't think it was going to be so bad here", Sparks said. "It's a big one", he said.

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North Carolina Department of Transportation officials said maintenance crews are prepping their vehicles and will be holding swift water rescue training Wednesday.

About 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians have been deployed, with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats.

"Hugo was a direct hit", he said. "We have everything. We're ready".

In fact, as with the aftermath of previous hurricanes, the region could eventually receive an economic boost once construction crews come out to rebuild and fix damage and as insurance payments and federal disaster aid flow in. "If you are on the coast, there is still time to get out safely".

Florence could strengthen some over open water and then weaken as it nears land, but the difference won't make it any less unsafe, forecaster Stacy Stewart wrote in a National Hurricane Center discussion.

"It doesn't look like it's going to weaken at this point", Flaherty said.

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