September 22, 2018

Hurricane Florence: Computer models show DEVASTATING wind speeds as storm draws CLOSER

12 September 2018, 06:24 | Ross Houston

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Walker Townsend at right from the Isle of Palms S.C. fills a sand bag while Dalton Trout in center holds the bag at the Isle of Palms municipal lot where the city was giving away free sand in preparation for Hurricane Florence at the Isle of Palms S

Hurricane Florence is expected to pose the greatest challenge with 380 to 635 millimetres of rain forecast and up to 1.14 metres of rain in isolated spots.

"If it stalls offshore or near the coast, storm surge threat will increase dramatically", Hal Needham, a storm surge expert and founder of Marine Weather and Climate, told us. A hospital in Hampton, Virginia, was transferring patients to safer places.

Some residents have already left, but others have made a decision to stay and have been barricading their homes and stocking food supplies. At 8 a.m. (1200 GMT) on Wednesday the storm was located about 530 miles (855 km) southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina.

Hurricane warnings, watches and tropical storm watches are now in place for the SC and North Carolina coasts.

As the storm approaches the East Coast of the United States, it will start drawing drier air from over land, Cline said. "We are totally prepared". It was expected to keep drawing energy from the warm water and intensify to near Category 5, which means winds of 157 miles per hour or higher.

Significantly, hurricane-force winds extended 70 miles (110 kilometres) from the eye, and tropical-storm-force winds reached 175 miles (280 kilometres) outward, making outdoor preparations hard or unsafe as early as Thursday.

However, probably the biggest concern with Florence is inland flooding, especially as the storm is now likely to become almost stationary along the Carolina coast and then slowly trudge inland.

"This storm is going to be a direct hit".

However, recent trends in the forecast models now indicate a rare-if not unprecedented for an Atlantic hurricane this far north and west-turn to the southwest before Florence resumes its west-northwest motion.

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The very center of that bull's-eye may be Camp Lejeune, the sprawling Marine Corps training base, where authorities were opening emergency operation centers, staging equipment and urging families on the base to build survival kits with food and equipment needed to sustain themselves for 72 hours. Computer models predict more than 3 feet of rain in the eastern part of the state, a fertile low-lying plain veined by brackish rivers with a propensity for escaping their banks. "Also, understand that a lot of people are going to be without power probably for several days if not longer".

President Donald Trump on Tuesday said the federal government would spare no expense in responding to the likely damage from Hurricane Florence, which is forecast to slam the Carolina coast later this week.

The National Weather Service said that more than 5.4 million people live in areas now under hurricane warnings or watches on the US East Coast. Meteorologists struggled Tuesday to identify where exactly the storm will come ashore.

Florence has forced people to cut their holidays short along the coast, while the storm's projected path includes half a dozen nuclear power plants, pits holding coal-ash and other industrial waste, and numerous pig farms that store animal waste in huge lagoons.

The category four hurricane is set to bring with it heavy rains and winds of up to 225 kilometres per hour. Coastal areas in both Carolinas have taken steps to evacuate residents and tourists, including a mandatory evacuation in SC. Typically, local governments in the state make the call on evacuations.

"We've seen nor'easters and we've seen hurricanes before", Cooper said, "but this one is different".

Governors in SC and Virginia have also issued mandatory evacuation orders ahead of the storm. Her 88-year-old mother refused to evacuate and will stay with her.

Schools and state parks have closed.

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