Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
Science | By Patricia Jimenez

Surge, wind, rain, floods: Hurricane Florence could hit hard

Surge, wind, rain, floods: Hurricane Florence could hit hard

Motorists streamed inland on highways converted to one-way routes yesterday as more than 1 million people in three states were ordered to get out of the way of Hurricane Florence, a hair-raising storm taking dead aim at the Carolinas with 210 kmh winds and potentially ruinous rains.

With so much focus on Florence, Porter is urging people to be wary of another storm developing in the Gulf of Mexico that could bring heavy rain and flooding to east Texas. "It is an extremely, dangerous, life-threatening, historic hurricane", said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. Now a Category 4 storm, it's possible that it could strengthen even more as it moves swiftly through the Atlantic Ocean.

"We are in a very deadly and important game of chess with Hurricane Florence", he said.

But a weather formation known as a high-pressure ridge is parked over the U.S. East coast, preventing Florence from doing the normal turn, said University of Miami hurricane expert Brian McNoldy.

The storm is now 845 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina. However, tropical storm force winds of 40 miles per hour could develop as early as Thursday morning. He also canceled campaign events Thursday and Friday in anticipation of the storm.

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

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Hurricanes nearly always set off an orchestrated dance on Wall Street before they make landfall, with shares of property and casualty insurance companies dumped in favour of companies that sell construction supplies or portable generators.

The storm will pick up additional strength as it passes over ocean water with sea surface temperatures of up to 85 degrees, the National Hurricane Center said. East Carolina officials say they had decided the team wouldn't travel to Blacksburg due to "significant imminent safety concerns", including "perilous travel conditions before, during and after the storm".

Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall in the Tar Heel State on Friday.

According to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, people caught in a Category 4 storm can expect to see "catastrophic damage". SC is also seeing a mass exodus, after the state's governor ordered a mandatory evacuation of the coastal counties.

Sailors cast off mooring lines to the Command hospital ship USNS Comfort as the ship evacuates Naval Station Norfolk in preparation for Hurricane Florence in Norfolk, Virginia, U.S., September 11, 2018.

The 8 a.m. forecast changes the storm surge watch for the eastern United States, with the worst impact, a surge of up to 12 feet, expected on a stretch from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout in North Carolina.

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Florence could slam the Carolinas harder than any hurricane since Hazel, which hit in 1954 with 209kmh winds.

Last year, there were 17 named storms. Even normal water is warm enough for a storm to form there, but this adds to the storm's fuel and its rainfall.

"This storm is going to knock out power days into weeks".

"We want residents to prepare accordingly".

"If we get more than 25 inches of rain, then we'll start to be concerned", he said.

But while wind speed offers an easily quantifiable way to rate unsafe storms, forecasters are warning people not to fixate on that, saying that saltwater from the storm surge and freshwater from heavy rains pose a serious threat, no matter what the top winds are when the hurricane makes landfall.

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