Carolina coast battening down, boarding up as hurricane nears

Jo Lloyd
September 17, 2018

About 1.7 million people across the three states affected - North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia - have been told to leave their homes ahead of the storm's arrival.

Forecasters are predicting that Florence will make landfall in the Carolinas late Thursday or early Friday as a still powerful Category 3 hurricane.

"Our first responsibility is to Athens-Clarke County, of course, and any assistance we could provide would depend on the amount of resources we have available", Burgess said.

While some of the computer forecasting models conflicted, the latest projections more or less showed the storm shifting southward and westward in a way that suddenly put more of SC in danger and imperiled Georgia, too.

People in areas vulnerable to a unsafe hurricane have left or are fleeing ahead of the storm's expected Friday or Saturday landfall.

The storm, which is poised to electrify millions this week within the southeastern US, is "expected to raise existence-threatening storm surge and rainfall" to North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, and parts of the Mid-Atlantic states, the National Hurricane Middle (NHC) talked about.

Town manager Michael Cramer told the New York Times he was anxious Florence would be even more devastating than Hurricane Hazel, which lashed the town in 1954, destroying 362 buildings. They are now flying into Isaac and also have a plane ready for storm recovery after Florence hits. Duke Energy serves around 4 million people in North and SC.

The National Hurricane Center projects rainfall anywhere from 5 to 20 inches across SC.

"It does look a bit similar to Harvey in a sense that it goes roaring into shore and then comes to a screeching stop", said MIT meteorology professor and hurricane expert Kerry Emanuel.

Editor's note: How are you preparing for Hurricane Florence? The only exception was Edisto Beach - that and other areas to the north remain under evacuation orders.

Susan Faulkenberry Panousis said she has stayed on Bald Head during prior hurricanes, but not this time. Rather than pushing up toward western Virginia, the storm's center is now predicted to move across eastern SC on Friday night and Saturday.

The trend is "exceptionally bad news", said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy, since it "smears a landfall out over hundreds of miles of coastline, most notably the storm surge".

"Not much has changed since this morning", meteorologist Chris Fisher from the National Weather Service said.

According to CNN, the area covered by Florence's tropical storm-force winds (which are one step below hurricane-force) stretches about 280 miles, which is greater than the distance between Boston and Philadelphia.

The National Hurricane Center said despite the decrease in winds, the size of the wind field has increased.

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

A storm covering enormous area, to drench and lash more people.

The waste can be a significant problem when there's storm surge and heavy rain, as a lot of North Carolina's hog production is close to the coast, according to Will Sawyer, an Atlanta-based economist at CoBank.

Fountain said they are also expecting a "natural gas event" as Hurricane Florence rolls into the Carolinas, which will impact meters and appliances, though likely not as extreme as the electric system will be impacted.

"Been through it!" Belli said, referring to Hurricane Hugo, which caused widespread damage in SC in 1989.

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