Florence begins to batter Carolina coast — WHAT'S HAPPENING

Florence begins to batter Carolina coast — WHAT'S HAPPENING

Florence begins to batter Carolina coast — WHAT'S HAPPENING

The National Hurricane Center's says it expects Florence will blow ashore as early as Friday afternoon around the North Carolina-South Carolina line, then slog westward with a potential for catastrophic inland flooding.

The message from North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper to residents was bleak.

"Thank you", a frazzled, shirtless Willie Schubert mouthed to members of a Coast Guard helicopter crew who plucked him and his dog Lucky from atop a house encircled by water in Pollocksville.

It's a detail that almost got lost among all the wind, rain and storm surge data sent out by the National Hurricane Center on Wednesday. After Florence's rain starts to fall this week, he said, the rainfall could continue through Monday.

At 10 p.m., the storm was centered 280 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, N.C., and was moving northwest at 17 mph.

Hurricane Florence's path could affect the homes of more than 5 million people, and more than 1 million of them have been ordered to evacuate.

Rather than pushing up toward western Virginia, the storm's center is now predicted to move across eastern SC on Friday night and Saturday.

A Weatherflow station at Fort Macon, North Carolina recently reported a sustained wind of 77 miles per hour with a gust to 100 miles per hour.

The storm is moving toward the northwest at 17 miles per hour (28 kph), the NHC said.

However, while the hurricane hasn't strengthened in terms of peak winds, the inner-core and outer wind fields have continued to expand, resulting in an increase the cyclone's total energy, which will create a significant storm surge event. In Hurricane Sandy in 2012, storm surge-induced flooding measured as high as 9 feet above ground in parts of NY and New Jersey, leading to billions of dollars in damages.

The country's No. 2 power company said Wednesday that it's anticipating 1 million to 3 million homes and businesses could lose power for lengthy periods, depending on the storm's track.

"I've never been one to leave for a storm but this one kind of had me spooked", Epperson said. The storm is a Category 4 right now but will likely grow and become more unpredictable as it nears the Carolina.

People walk past storm shuttered buildings on the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk in Myrtle Beach
People walk past storm shuttered buildings on the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk in Myrtle Beach

Causey said similar steps have been taken in North Carolina.

"This is a hurricane event followed by a flood event", said South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster.

He said electric power could be out for weeks.

A spokesperson for the WMO described Hurricane Florence as "very large, very strong and very unsafe".

Satellites orbiting Earth have also been keeping tabs on Florence from above.

According to the Steve Pfaff, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, areas along the Grand Strand stretching up into North Carolina will feel effects from storm surge, winds and flooding.

They don't retire the name of every hurricane - and there's already a buzz that Florence will join the likes of Hazel (1954), Hugo (1989), Fran (1996) and Isabel (2003), the four most destructive hurricanes to strike the southeastern United States. As the hurricane center says, "Florence is expected to slow down considerably by late Thursday into Friday, and move slowly through early Saturday".

"Precautionary preparations for major flooding are advised", Kottlowski said.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles.

The US Navy said it was preparing to send about 30 ships stationed in Virginia out to sea. "It goes well inland". "There will be some stronger winds, but to me, the rain issues will be bigger." said Panovich.

At the White House, President Donald Trump both touted the government's readiness and urged people to get out of the way of Florence.

Kevin Miller, a 50-year-old electrician, said he planned to ride out the storm at his home near Charleston. "You can't stop Mother Nature".

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