By Anna Driver
11 September 2018

HOLDEN BEACH, N.C. (Reuters) – Powerful Hurricane Florence grew larger on Tuesday and is expected to bring days of rain, deadly flooding, and power outages lasting weeks after it slams into the U.S. Southeast coast later this week.

Winds and massive waves will pound coastal North and South Carolina when Florence makes landfall on Friday, and its rains will take a heavy toll for miles inland, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned.

With winds currently at 140 miles per hour (225 km per hour), the storm was a Category 4 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale and expected to get bigger and stronger, the NHC said.

“This storm is a monster,” North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a Tuesday news conference about the most powerful storm to approach the Carolinas in nearly three decades.

“It’s an extremely dangerous, life-threatening, historic hurricane … The forecast shows Florence stalling over North Carolina, bringing days and days of rain.”

Hurricane Florence as seen from the International Space Station, 10 September 2018. Photo: Ricky Arnold

Cooper and his counterparts in neighboring South Carolina and Virginia ordered about 1 million people to evacuate coastal homes, including along the Outer Banks barrier islands. To speed evacuations, officials in South Carolina reversed the flow of traffic on some highways so that all major roads led away from the coast.

Communities in Florence’s path could be without electricity for weeks, said Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long. […]

In addition to flooding the coast with wind-driven storm surges of seawater as high as 13 feet (4 m), Florence could drop 15 to 25 inches (38 to 64 cm) of rain, with up to 35 inches (89 cm) in some spots, forecasters said. [more]

U.S. southeast braces for 'days and days' of floods from Florence

By Jamiles Lartey
11 September 2018

NEW ORLEANS (The Guardian) – More than a million people living along the coastlines of Virginia and the Carolinas have been ordered to evacuate their homes on Tuesday, as parts of America’s mid-Atlantic coast brace for what could be the most powerful storm to ever hit the region.

Hurricane Florence is expected to bring potentially catastrophic winds, flooding and storm surge. Forecasters predict it will make landfall late on Thursday.

Currently rated as a category 4 storm – the second most powerful on the national weather service’s (NWS) classification system – Florence would be the first storm in recorded history to make landfall at that magnitude so far north if it remains on its most likely track.

In its latest advisory on Tuesday morning, the US national hurricane center (NHC) said the storm is close to category 5 in strength, and had slightly increased in speed as it headed toward the east coast. It is expected to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane ahead of its potential landfall.

“The bottom line is that there is high confidence that Florence will be a large and extremely dangerous hurricane, regardless of its exact intensity,” the hurricane center said. […]

The NWS is predicting “life-threatening” storm surge and inland freshwater flooding, with some models predicting upwards of 2ft of rainfall. With winds of up to 150mph forecast, Florence will likely fell tree limbs and trigger power outages.

Some forecasters are concerned that the storm appears likely to slow dramatically at about the time of landfall, like 2017’s Hurricane Harvey, which stalled out Houston, dropping huge amounts of rain over several days. That storm brought $125bn in damage last summer, mostly in Texas.

Florence stands a significant chance of joining 2017’s Harvey and Irma as just the third storm to make landfall on the US mainland at category 4 strength (or higher) since 2005. When storms of that magnitude hit the lower 48 states, they usually travel through the warmer waters of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico and rarely make landfall so far north up the eastern Atlantic coast. The last storm to hit the Carolinas as a category 4 was Hurricane Hugo nearly 30 years ago in 1989. [more]

Hurricane Florence: over 1m ordered to evacuate in Virginia and Carolinas



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