Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Hurricane Florence increases in size despite weakening winds

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Derrick Tucker | 17 September, 2018, 04:45

The coastal surge from Florence could leave the eastern tip of North Carolina under more than 9 feet of water in spots, projections showed.

The National Hurricane Center said it had winds of 210 kilometers (130 miles) per hour and a threat of "life-threatening storm surge and rainfall".

Its maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly to 110 miles per hour. But authorities warned it will still be an extremely risky hurricane.

"In collaboration with state emergency agencies and the Georgia Hospital Association, we are monitoring bed counts daily so that we can quickly and accurately assist with any necessary evacuations", said Sydney Walker, spokesperson for Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center.

"So right now, we're thinking it's going to be tropical-storm-force conditions for the Beaufort area, but I would not rule out the potential for hurricane force winds or hurricane force conditions for Beaufort County".

U.S. President Donald Trump on Twitter warned of the storm's dangers and praised his administration's handling of past hurricanes, rejecting criticism for its response to Hurricane Maria a year ago in Puerto Rico.

At the White House, President Donald Trump urged people to "get out of its way".

Also, VMI announced that its home game against East Tennessee State, also originally scheduled for Saturday, will now be played Friday at 2:30 p.m. "We can't put power out on the grid if there's no one to send it to".

Florence is expected to make landfall in the Carolinas early Friday, bringing with it 20-30 inches of rain to North Carolina, and almost 40 inches to SC, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Trouble began brewing last week, when three hurricanes-Florence, Isaac, and Helene-starting churning up the North Atlantic.

South Carolina, western and northern North Carolina are expected to receive five to 10 inches and in isolated areas up to 20 inches. "The water level will get a little high but we'll be fine". The two hardware chains said they sent in a total of around 1,100 trucks. He said they have been preparing with their natural gas unit.

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Cooper said 126 shelters are open across the state, with more than 12,000 people already staying at them, as of Thursday evening. The primary road through town was mostly empty, except for police cars and emergency vehicles that appeared to be on patrol.

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Byard, the FEMA official, said "this storm is not going to be a glancing blow".

"In 12 or 18 hours, they may be saying different things all over again", he said.

The European computer model has Florence veering before landfall and hovering for a couple days off the coast.

Florence's predicted path as of Wednesday had it making landfall on the SC coast, just south of North Carolina.

Reacting to the possibility of a more southerly track, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal declared an emergency but did not immediately order any evacuations.

The shift in the projected track had areas that once thought they were out of range anxious.

Cooper and his SC counterpart, Henry McMaster, told the more than 1 million people who have been told to leave that if they don't, they are on their own. "Now it might be time for the exam", he said.

The precipitation from Florence will start midday Thursday and then it will rain for four days, said CNN Meteorologist Tom Sater.More than 1 million people are under mandatory evacuations in Virginia and the Carolinas, where up to 40 inches of rain could fall. "But more than likely, it will be Friday and into the weekend where most likely we'll be seeing some gusty winds", he said.

A network of rivers and streams that extend inland from the coast could also carry the surge far inland, said Phil Klotzbach, a research scientist at Colorado State University's department of atmospheric sciences.

Susan Faulkenberry Panousis said she has stayed on Bald Head during prior hurricanes, but not this time.

Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey, which decimated parts of the Gulf states and Texas in 2005 and 2017 respectively, cost more than $125 billion. North Carolina is the top USA turkey producer, ranks third for chicken and is home to more hogs than any state other than Iowa, government data show. Most other beachgoers were long gone.

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