April 25, 2019

Florence barreling closer to coast of Carolinas

16 September 2018, 11:13 | Dale Webster

Florence barreling closer to coast of Carolinas

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Overall, risky storm surge is possible all the way from Edisto Beach, South Carolina, to the North Carolina/Virginia border.

But the hurricane's sheer size meant it could batter the U.S. East Coast with hurricane-force winds for almost a full day, according to weather forecasters.

"This system is unloading epic amounts of rainfall, in some places measured in feet and not inches", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news briefing.

Farmer said since October 2015 when the state suffered serious flooding from what was at the time called a 1-in-1,000 year megastorm, he has encouraged residents to purchase flood insurance.

More than 1 million people have been ordered to evacuate the coastlines of the Carolinas and Virginia. More than 26,000 hunkered down in shelters.

"This is a very risky hurricane", Mr McMaster said, adding that the evacuation order for coastal counties was "mandatory, not voluntary".

People in North Carolina and SC have the daytime hours Thursday to complete their final preparations to ride out or escape the storm. The governors of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia declared emergencies to help speed up government aid efforts.

A surge is also likely along portions of the SC coast.

"It's going to be bad", said Woody White, a county commissioner.

It is also a very large storm, with hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles (110 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km).

Storm surge flooding does not include floods caused by the heavy rain from the hurricane, such as what happened previous year in Houston with Hurricane Harvey and in North Carolina in 2016 during Hurricane Matthew.

Causey, a former insurance agent who was elected as commissioner in 2016, said the NCDOI has been in touch with agent associations, carriers, FEMA, other states nearby that can provide resources, and the North Carolina Coastal Insurance Property Pool (the Beach Plan), which insures seven out of 10 homes along the state's coast.

"You've seen how changes can be", Cline said.

"The worst is yet to come", he added.

Florence is now a Category 4 hurricane on the five-point Saffir-Simpson scale and was forecast to slam into the Carolinas later this week.

As of 11 p.m. EDT Wednesday, the storm was centered 260 miles (455 kilometers) east southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, moving northwest at 17 mph (28 kph).

On Saturday, its streets were strewn with downed tree limbs and carpeted with leaves and other debris.

"This is not going to be a glancing blow", Byard said, warning of power outages, road closures, infrastructure damage and potential loss of life.

Duke Energy is anticipating downed trees and millions without power.

"In most hurricanes, we worry about our line and equipment being blown down to the ground", said Pettit.

Officials had warned before the storm that the rains could risk tainting waterways with murky coal ash and toxic hog waste.

It is unusual to have such a strong hurricane so far north.

Windows and doors are boarded up in anticipation of the arrival of Hurricane Florence September 12, 2018 in Morehead City, North Carolina.

In New Bern, about 90 miles northeast of Wilmington at the confluence of two rivers, Florence overwhelmed the town of 30,000 and left the downtown area under water.

Areas along the coast from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout, NC, including the Neuse, Pamlico, Pungo and Bay rivers may experience storm surges from 9 to 13 feet.

"I've never been one to leave for a storm but this one kind of had me spooked", Epperson said.

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