US East Coast braces for 'direct hit' from Hurricane Florence

Pablo Tucker
September 12, 2018

Approximately 2,000 South Carolina National Guard Soldiers and Airmen were activated and are now emplaced throughout the Palmetto state September 11, 2018 in preparation for landfall of Hurricane Florence.

Boeing Co suspended work on Tuesday at the SC plant where it assembles 787 widebody jetliners, and a Volvo automobile plant in South Carolina's evacuation zone was also closed, company officials said.

The last time the USA capital declared a state of emergency was in January 2016 when a winter storm dubbed "Snowzilla" blanketed the capital region in knee-deep snow.

CNN reported that after landfall, storm surges up to 13 feet are expected along the coasts.

By Saturday, total rainfall could accumulate to 20 inches (51 centimeters) - or even 30 inches in places - in parts of the Carolinas and Virginia, the NHC said.

It likely goes without saying that hurricanes produce punishing, potentially deadly winds.

The National Weather Service (NWS) confirmed on Wednesday that the effects of the devastating hurricane would be felt in states hundreds of miles away.

The threat of risky storm surges of up to 13ft and hurricane force winds across the Carolinas and mid-Atlantic states is high. The storm now has sustained winds of roughly 130 miles per hour. But despite that, bad things can happen when you're talking about a storm this size.

He said Florence could rival the impact of Hurricane Hugo, which wreaked $7bn (£5.3bn) in damage and claimed 49 lives in 1989.

Florence is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 15 to 20 inches and possibly 30 inches in some spots along its track over portions of North Carolina, Virginia and northern SC through Saturday.

President Donald Trump has insisted that the government is "absolutely, totally prepared" for the arrival of the hurricane.

The storm was around 400 miles south of Bermuda on Tuesday afternoon and is trudging towards the east coast at 16mph.

Residents prepared by boarding up their homes and stocking up on food, water and other essentials, stripping grocery store shelves of merchandise.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster on Monday ordered the mandatory evacuation of one million coastal residents.

Dividing the globe up into squares roughly 25km by 25km in size, researchers were able to simulate Category 4 and 5 storms, and where they now occur around the globe - not perfectly, but in a way that was broadly representative.

He did confirm models were picking up on some wind shear - when wind blows in the opposite direction and disrupts a system - entering the equation around the time of expected landfall late Thursday into Friday.

Stay tuned for more weather updates as Hurricane Florence approaches.

ABC reported that most of the hurricanes that make landfall in America, start as thunderstorms over Africa.

"This will be a storm that creates and causes massive damage to our country".

Perhaps most significantly, the new research finds that rapid intensification appears to be the key mechanism driving stronger storms in a warmer climate. The vast stretch of a water body, high temperatures, and high air pressure above the thunder clouds are the factors that help to sustain a hurricane. Flooding, a metric those categories don't take into account, can often become a costly problem, as seen when Hurricane Harvey flooded parts of Texas and Louisiana in 2017.

What is in Hurricane Florence's way? Ryan Moser, a spokesman for the North Carolina-based electricity company Duke Energy, said operators would begin shutting down nuclear plants at least two hours before hurricane-force winds arrive.

Her home in Hillsborough, North Carolina, is at risk for flooding, and her family and nearby relatives will ride out the storm in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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