Hurricane Florence prompts mass evacuations

Marco Green
September 12, 2018

Trump has declared states of emergency for North and SC ahead of the Category 4 hurricane, which frees up help from federal agencies.

Hurricane Florence was producing maximum winds of 225 km/h, and moving at 28 km/h, as of 2 a.m. ET Wednesday.

Coastal residents fleeing a potentially devastating blow from Hurricane Florence encountered empty gasoline pumps and depleted store shelves as the monster storm neared the Carolina coast with 140 miles per hour (225 kph) winds and drenching rain that could last for days.

This story was originally published about the threat of storm surge posed by Hurricane Irma.

More than 1 million people have been ordered to evacuate the coastline of the three states, while university campuses, schools and factories were being shuttered.

"Unlike Puerto Rico they have very strong power companies", he said of the Carolinas and Virginia.

Cooper called the residents of his state "a hardy bunch" that have endured a multitude of past storms, but that "this storm is different". Even normal water is warm enough for a storm to form there, but this adds to the storm's fuel and its rainfall. "Don't bet your life on riding out a monster".

Several meteorologists said Florence could do what Hurricane Harvey did past year over Texas, dumping days of rain, although not quite as bad.

A store's bread shelves are bare as people stock up on food ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence.

To hasten evacuations from coastal SC, officials switched traffic patterns so that all major roads led away from shore.

Southwest Airlines said travelers booked to fly from six cities from Baltimore to SC can rebook their flights within 14 days of their original dates with no additional cost. "Everyone was sold out", she said.

A hurricane watch was in effect for Edisto Beach, South Carolina, to Virginia's southern border, and the first hurricane-force winds arriving late Thursday. That will tend to weaken Florence, but the NHC forecasts that the storm will be "an extremely unsafe major hurricane through landfall". Matthew's floods were devastating for many areas of eastern North Carolina. Computer models predict more than 3 feet of rain in the eastern part of North Carolina, a fertile low-lying plain veined by brackish rivers with a propensity for escaping their banks. The storm, as of Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. EDT, has sustained maximum winds of 130 miles per hour, keeping it as a Category 4, and is still expected to be a major hurricane when it hits land.

Business owners prepare for Hurricane Florence in Wrightsville Beach, N.C.

Utility companies deployed crews and gear in advance, according to trade group, the Edison Electric Institute.

North Carolina officials evacuated long-term care facilities and hundreds of prisoners in vulnerable areas, and also closed state parks, museums and other attractions. One power station, Duke Energy Corp's Brunswick plant, the closest to the area where landfall is forecast, faced a likely shutdown as a precaution.

Airlines, including American and Southwest, have started letting passengers change travel plans that take them into the hurricane's possible path.

"Get to a safe place now or by Thursday morning", he said.

Flooding and storm surge are a concern for officials in North and SC as they watch Hurricane Florence.

"But again, trying to just get some of these animals out into the foster homes so we can clear shelter for emergency situations", says Donna Stucker with the Humane Society.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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