Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Science | By Patricia Jimenez

Mass evacuations ordered as Hurricane Florence approaches US

Mass evacuations ordered as Hurricane Florence approaches US

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, concerned the storm would bring its devastation south, issued an emergency declaration for all 159 counties in the state.

Despite newer forecasts showing the storm turning south, it has the potential to be devastating for the coast and inland areas. Its maximum sustained winds slackened slightly to 125 mph, qualifying it as a Category 3 storm, but its wind field has grown, with hurricane-force winds extending out 70 miles from the center and tropical storm-force winds stretching as far as 175 miles from the storm's center.

"With this storm, what's unique is it's forecast to stall ... dropping copious amounts of rainfall across the Carolinas and into Virginia", Long said. There are concerns that it could knock out power for weeks.

"Don't play games with it".

Parts the eastern seaboard of the United States will be deluged with 40 inches of rain and suffer a "Mike Tyson punch" from Hurricane Florence, emergency planners warned today.

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Enough rain could fall to break North Carolina's record for a tropical storm - 24 inches - set near Wilmington during Hurricane Floyd in 1999, said Greg Carbin, chief of forecast operations at the Weather Service's national prediction center. For now, it appears four to seven inches of rain could fall but, if the storms takes a more southerly track into SC, that rainfall could be reduced. In North Carolina, Cooper says, "2,800 soldiers will be on active duty, joined by even more on standby".

Lane said that Hurricane Florence is not a storm of inconvenience.

Parts of the region should start experiencing Florence's effects Thursday afternoon with 20-mph winds that will gust up to 30 miles per hour, Orrock said.

The storm is expected to hit the Carolinas hard later this week.

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

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"This rainfall would produce catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding", the hurricane center says. That's because the longer this slow-moving hurricane hovers over land, the more rain it'll dump in the same places.

"Everyone who is staying here is either a real old-timer, someone who doesn't know where would be better, or someone involved in emergency operations one way or another", said Fox. "Also, a little creepy".

Florence is the most risky of three tropical systems in the Atlantic.

Florence's projected path includes half a dozen nuclear power plants, pits holding coal-ash and other industrial waste, and numerous hog farms that store animal waste in huge lagoons. With that much size and strength, even a glancing blow could be devastating - something forecasters stressed as they noted the shift in the predicted track.

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