Caged for the Storm as Hurricane Florence Bears Down

Cesar Mills
September 13, 2018

Hurricane Florence is blasting toward the Carolinas, carrying sustained winds of up to 130 miles per hour and the threat of "life-threatening storm surge and rainfall", the National Hurricane Center says.

Though Florence won't be making landfall until Friday, tropical-storm-force winds - 39 to 73 miles per hour (63 to 117 km/h) - will begin whipping through coastal regions as early as tomorrow, making it exceptionally unsafe to be outside, Graham said.

Hurricane-force winds will bring down trees and damage homes and businesses. "I encourage Georgians to be prepared for the inland effects of the storm as well as the ensuing storm surge in coastal areas".

The Michigan-sized storm is set to linger for days and cause catastrophic flooding with up to four feet of rain and 13-foot storm surges.

Due to unusual steering patterns in the atmosphere, Florence may crawl southward down the Southeast coast, the opposite direction storms usually travel.

Susan Faulkenberry Panousis has stayed in her Bald Head Island, North Carolina home during prior hurricanes, but not this time. Rather than pushing up toward western Virginia, the storm's center is now predicted to move across the middle of SC.

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And now, the US Weather Prediction Center says 10million people on the east coast are expected to be placed under emergency advisories as the Cyclone barrels its way to the coast, with landfall expected today.

More than 1.7 million people were warned to evacuate and get out of the way of the "life-threatening" storm's path.

Duke Energy, the second-largest energy company in the United States, said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its four million customers in the Carolinas. More to come on this part of the forecast. Hurricane Florence was more recently downgraded to a Category 2 storm. "Everybody is trying to get out of the coast", she said.

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

A year ago, people would have laughed off such a forecast, but the European model was accurate in predicting 150 cm for Hurricane "Harvey" in the Houston area, so "you start to wonder what these models know that we don't", said Brian McNoldy, a hurricane expert at the University of Miami.

SC ordered the mandatory evacuation of one million coastal residents while North Carolina ordered an evacuation of the Outer Banks, barrier islands that are a popular tourist destination. The power is going to be off for weeks. If it follows its most likely track, Florence will be the first major storm to make landfall so far north in the US. The Navy, Air Force and Army have been moving people, ships and aircrafts out of harm's way, though evacuations were not mandatory at bases such as Camp Lejeune.

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