Hurricane Florence stalks US East Coast

Pablo Tucker
September 14, 2018

Hurricane Florence underwent a rapid intensification Monday morning, strengthening to category 4 intensity with maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour.

American Airlines has issued a travel waiver for passengers using 23 airports located in North and South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia, including the hub of Charlotte, for those travelling between 10 and 19 September.

This email will be delivered to your inbox once a day in the morning. "This is not the time to take a chance".

Lumberton, North Carolina, is about 80 miles inland, but people there still made a run on supplies at the local Lowe's, said store manager Mackie Singletary.

The latest GFS model shows Florence staying just offshore, bringing massive amounts of rain and heavy winds to the coast.

Preparations intensified up and down the densely populated coast.

Download the Ready NC app or follow NC Emergency Management on Facebook and Twitter for weather updates and to learn how you can prepare for the storm.

Myrtle Beach is a hot spot for tourists, but driving around on Tuesday, it looked like most had left.

For many, the challenge could be finding a safe refuge.

A mandatory evacuation order takes effect Tuesday at noon in eight counties along South Carolina's 187-mile coastline. A total of 177 health-care facilities, including 19 hospitals, also are being evacuated. Hampton County was not in the initial evacuation order.

"Get prepared and move", McMaster said to coastal residents, including those who aren't in an evacuation zone.

"We expect it to be at least a major hurricane at landfall", he said. The center warns that such storms will snap or uproot most trees and down power poles and that power can be out in some areas for weeks or months.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster ordered as many as one million residents of the state's eastern coast to leave their homes ahead of the storm's possible arrival on Thursday.

Storm surge and hurricane watches may be issued early Tuesday for portions of southeastern USA states, the NHC said.

"Florence has rapidly intensified into an extremely unsafe hurricane", Blake wrote Monday evening, predicting that the hurricane's top sustained winds would approach the 157 miles per hour (253 kph) threshold for a wost-case Category 5 scenario.

The monster storm was upgraded to an "extremely dangerous" Category 4 by the National Hurricane Centre yesterday but is predicted to approach the most-damaging Category 5 status. Even before the evacuation order, Dare County emergency officials warned that rough seas and strong rip currents already were creating risky conditions.

AccuWeather meteorologist Brett Rossi said the ground in North and SC and Virginia is already saturated from recent rains.

The campaign said the event was scuttled out of safety concerns. What remains fairly unknown is what the storm will do when it makes landfall and what it will mean for the D.C. metro area, says National Weather Service meteorologist Kyle Pallozzi. With torrential rains in the Appalachian mountains, that water could easily cause flash floods.

"We live in a mobile home so we were just like 'No way, '" she said.

The governors of Virginia, Maryland, and North and SC have declared states of emergency ahead of the storm.

The move also closed state offices and schools in the eastern half of the state, including Lexington and Richland counties, where tropical storm-strength winds are expected as early as late Thursday.

Following Hurricane Florence are two more powerful storms crossing the Atlantic, namely Tropical Storm Isaac and Hurricane Helene.

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