Millions brace themselves as Hurricane Florence approaches U.S. coast

James Marshall
September 14, 2018

The impact of Florence will be widespread, with destructive winds, life-threatening storm surge, unsafe surf, torrential rainfall, flooding and the potential for tornadoes.

The hurricane was about 470 miles (755 km) east-southeast of Myrtle beach SC, with maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour (205 km/h), the Miami, Florida-based weather forecaster said.

Florence will likely weaken as it moves inland, especially on Saturday (Sept. 15) as it moves over SC, according to National Hurricane Center predictions.

About 10 million people could be affected by the storm and more than 1 million were ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia.

But the danger comes not so much from the wind as from the storm surges, which could raise the sea level to 4 meters in some points and flood the coast. While hurricane force winds extended 80 miles from the centre of the storm, tropical storm force winds extended up to 195 miles.

Officials in several states declared a state of emergency, including in the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia and Maryland, where coastal areas were still recovering from summer storms.

A hurricane warning is in effect for South Santee River, SC, north to Duck, NC, and the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.

Boarding up his home in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Chris Pennington watched the forecasts and tried to decide when to leave.

But forecasters warned that the widening storm - and the likelihood of it lingering around the coast for days - would bring seawater surging on to land and torrential downpours.

If you have a two-story home, the first floor is totally flooded in a 9-foot surge.

The full impact of storm surge on the coast will depend on whether the storm's arrival coincides with high tide.

Forecasters' European climate model is predicting 2 trillion to 11 trillion gallons of rain will fall on North Carolina over the next week, according to meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com.

According to a report from the J.P. Morgan Chase Institute, extreme weather events like the one now battering the Carolinas and Virginia can have far-reaching effects on consumers' wallets, impacting their spending for months after the storm has cleared. Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands face possible isolated amounts of 3 inches. The center of the storm is expected to maintain a westward track across southeastern North Carolina Friday and across eastern South Carolina Friday and Saturday. It is expected to turn away from the U.S. That system could develop into a tropical depression by Friday.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER