Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Hurricane Florence could bring some rain to Richmond

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| 14 September, 2018, 19:01

Forecasters said catastrophic freshwater flooding is expected well inland over the next few days as Florence crawls across the Carolinas.

A turn toward the west-northwest and west at a slow forward speed is expected through Friday, followed by a slow west-southwestward motion Friday night and Saturday.

Hurricane Florence is predicted to creep across the coast from North Carolina to SC after making landfall late Thursday or early Friday.

A buoy off the North Carolina coast recorded waves almost 30 feet (9 meters) high as Florence churned toward shore. Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles (130 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds reached out to 195 miles (315 kilometers). "We don't know why things happen, but He's in control".

About 10 million people could be affected by the storm and more than 1 million were ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia.

About 5.25 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million live in places covered by tropical storm warnings or watches, the National Weather Service said.

Hurricane Florence continues to move towards the Carolinas, and a landfall across southern North Carolina near Wilmington is expected Friday morning into Friday afternoon.

Authorities are warning USA coastal residents in the path of Hurricane Florence to evacuate now or be at the mercy of the Category 3 storm, which is expected to slow upon hitting the coast of the Carolinas on Thursday and ravage the region with storm surge, rainfall, and flooding.

The U.S. Coast Guard said it closed the ports of Wilmington and Moorehead City in North Carolina and restricted port operations in Charleston, South Carolina.

Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters said Florence eventually could strike as a Category 1 with winds less than 100 miles per hour, but that's still enough to cause at least $1 billion in damage.

Forecasters said the Category 1 storm's extreme size meant it could batter the U.S. East Coast with hurricane-force winds for almost a full day.


President Donald Trump touted the government's readiness and urged people to get out of the way. "Don't play games with it. Its a big one", he said at the White House. Pastor Mike Pitman of Vertical Church says more than 1,600 people joined in with his online prayer event. Airlines cancelled almost 1000 flights and counting. Home Depot and Lowe's activated emergency response centers to get generators, trash bags and bottled water to stores before and after the storm. The two hardware chains said they sent in a total of around 1,100 trucks.

With Duke Energy expecting up to 3 million power outages for its 4 million customers, power companies will need an extra hand.

A team of University of Oklahoma meteorologists and research scientists is headed into the eye of the storm, said spokeswoman Jana Smith.

While the storm weakened, forecasters still predict up to 9 feet of storm surge in the Myrtle Beach area.

Computer models anticipating the path of the storm are varied, adding to the uncertainty. If the track shifts farther south, impacts could spread into southeast Georgia. Nathan Deal declared an emergency but did not immediately order any evacuations.

With their entire neighbourhood evacuated in Wilmington, North Carolina, David and Janelle Garrigus planned to ride out Florence at their daughter's one-bedroom apartment in Charlotte. Unsure of what they might find when they return home, the couple went shopping for a recreational vehicle.

"Either no (hotel) rooms are available, or we are denied because the breed or size of dogs", she said.

Usually when a storm approaches the coast, forecasters can tell with ever-increasing accuracy who will get walloped.

The worst of the storm's fury had yet to reach coastal SC, where emergency managers said it was not too late for people to get out. "I mean this takes a long time to move through the Carolinas".

"Its been really nice", Nicole Roland said. "Also, a little creepy".

The water "is as high as it's ever been, and waves are breaking on my point, which is normally grass", said Copeland, a freelance photographer for The Associated Press.

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