Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Mandatory evacuations ordered for entire SC coastline ahead of Hurricane Florence

Mandatory evacuations issued for Outer Banks ahead of Florence Gov. McMaster issues mandatory evacuation for SC coast; including Beaufort, Colleton and Jasper counties
Derrick Tucker | 12 September, 2018, 04:29

At 2:00 pm (1800 GMT), Florence was a Category 4 hurricane packing winds of 130 miles per hour (215 kilometers per hour), the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

In preparation for the storm, the governments of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia have all declared states of emergency and are mobilizing resources.

"This means the east and southeast winds on the east side of the storm are going to be most effective in driving storm surge flooding as the wind and waves pound the coast. There will be flooding in inland areas as well".

Trump, who has faced criticism for his administration's response to Hurricane Maria in 2017, which killed an estimated 3,000 people in the US territory of Puerto Rico, knocked out power to all 3.4 million residents of the Caribbean island, with thousands still without power even six months after the storm hit, said the federal government was "totally prepared" for Florence. While national reconnaissance aircraft noted this morning the hurricane weakened slightly, it's expected to strengthen again later today.

Far from this hurricane parade on the other side of the globe, Tropical Storm Olivia is flying solo east of Hawaii.

South Carolina's governor ordered the state's entire coastline to be evacuated starting at noon on Tuesday.

Southeastern North Carolina remains in the middle of the storm's "cone of uncertainty", with the cone extending from roughly Hilton Head, S.C., in the south to the Chesapeake Bay in the north.

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For many people, the challenge could be finding a safe refuge: If Florence slows to a crawl, it could bring torrential rains all the way into the Appalachian mountains and as far away as West Virginia, causing flash floods, mudslides and other unsafe conditions in places that have already experienced lots of rain recently. Eastern on Tuesday, Florence was swirling in the Atlantic toward the Carolinas coast at a rate of 17 miles per hour, the NHC said.

As one of the nation's foremost experts on storm surge, he warned that if Florence hits at high tide, it could pose serious risks to property and life for any low-lying areas along the coast as well as along any inlets. As a major storm, the hurricane is expected to produce life-threatening conditions.

President Donald Trump declared states of emergency for North and SC, facilitating federal help. "We will need to see a higher sample of storms throughout the next 50 to 100 years to fully attribute the claim of climate change as the culprit for Florence's intensification".

During a typical Atlantic hurricane season, the bulk of hurricanes are steered by a high-pressure system that sits around Bermuda.

It's a scene that's playing out all along the eastern seaboard as Hurricane Florence continues to churn towards the coast. But even the most secure homes could be surrounded by water, or penetrated by wind-launched debris.

"If it decides to come here, we're gone", he said.

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