'Atmospheric Brick Wall' Steers Hurricane Florence Toward US East Coast

Pablo Tucker
September 18, 2018

Two storms, Harvey and Irma, killed more than 140 people in the southeast and caused hundreds of billions of dollars in damages.

Historically, 90 percent of fatalities from hurricanes, tropical storms and tropical depressions have been caused by water, NHC spokesman Dennis Feltgen said. "But we're not going to gamble with the lives of the people of SC".

Schools in 26 of the state's 46 counties were to close from Tuesday.

The state Transportation Department likely will begin diverting eastbound traffic off I-26 in Columbia to USA 321 or I-77 north at 8 a.m. Tuesday, it said. Among the airports commonly mentioned are those in North and SC, as well as Norfolk and Richmond, VA and Savannah, GA. Ray Cooper said at a news conference Monday.

'Atmospheric Brick Wall' Steers Hurricane Florence Toward US East Coast

"This is a real hurricane we have coming", SC governor Henry McMaster said Monday.

Trump has been briefed on the situation by South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. "We've done a lot of that over the years and we have K9s that can conduct search and rescue".

Coastal areas of North Carolina began evacuating on Monday, with a second wave at 7 a.m. Tuesday. Landfall was expected late Thursday night as a category 3 or 4 hurricane, producing maximum sustained winds between 120 to 140 miles per hour and a storm surge of 7-12 feet, in addition to high tide.

At a Home Depot in Wilmington, North Carolina, Billy Nivens told CNN they ran out of water, plywood, generators, flashlights, propane, batteries and five-gallon gas cans by Monday afternoon.

The storm is moving northwest at 5 miles per hour and has maximum sustained winds close to 90 miles per hour. "There's just a really strong ridge building over the top of Florence that is going to drive it westward and also give it a remarkably favorable environment for strengthening".

Hurricane Isaac is moving toward the Caribbean and could make landfall Thursday as a Category 1 hurricane.

The NHC warned that hurricane force winds may extend 65 kilometers from the center and tropical-storm-force winds may reach 240 kilometers outward.

The center of the hurricane was forecast to move between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday and approach the southeastern coast of the U.S. on Thursday as a Category 3 storm or higher, according to the hurricane center.

"So, that high pressure is now driving Florence toward the East Coast", he said. "This could result in significant river flooding across portions of the state into next week".

Forecasters said parts of North Carolina could get 20 inches of rain, if not more, with as much as 10 inches elsewhere in the state and in Virginia, parts of Maryland and Washington, D.C. "That includes search and rescue, evacuation, wellness checks, security and route clearance".

"We want to make sure that we get the best data going to the National Hurricane Center. and to emergency managers and to the media so we can get people out of the way", Flaherty said.

The Transportation Department also has more than 3,000 employees ready to deploy, and more than 440 additional state law enforcement officers have been moved to the coast.

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