Hurricane Florence bears down on Carolinas

14 September, 2018, 08:02 | Author: Sherry Houston
  • Campaigns target Weather Channel as Florence bears down

"It's one of those situations where you're going to get heavy rain, catastrophic, life-threatening storm surge, and also the winds". Coastal North Carolina may receive up to 40 inches (100 centimeters) of rain, the National Hurricane Center said.

Hurricane Florence, seen here as a Category 4 storm on September 12, 2018, was downgraded to a Category 2 storm as it neared the North Carolina coast.

The storm is forecast to approach the coasts of the Carolinas later today, before moving near or over the coast of southern North Carolina and eastern South Carolina in the "hurricane warning" area; now, that area includes South Santee River, South Carolina, to Duck, North Carolina as well as Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.

Emergency preparations included activating more than 2,700 National Guard troops, stockpiling food, setting up shelters, switching traffic patterns so major roads led away from shore, and securing 16 nuclear power reactors in the Carolinas and Virginia.

Will Epperson (36), a golf course assistant superintendent, said he and his wife had planned to ride out the storm in his home in Hampstead, North Carolina, but reconsidered due to its ferocity.

He said there are about 7,000 U.S. military forces now in place and ready to respond to the storm - along with ships, helicopters and high-wheeled vehicles.

More than 80,000 people are already without power, and forecasters have warned that conditions will only get more lethal as the storm pushes ashore in the early hours of Friday morning.

But a weather formation known as a high-pressure ridge is parked over the U.S. East coast, preventing Florence from doing the normal turn, said University of Miami hurricane expert Brian McNoldy. Residents are still recovering from Hurricane Matthew and communities with financial struggles are slow to rebuild after a major disaster. Thousands have taken refuge in emergency shelters, officials said. Some reactors are undergoing prestorm checks now, and their reactors will be shut down 12 hours before the hurricane arrives, Green said.

Around midday, Spanish moss blew sideways in the trees as the winds increased in Wilmington, and floating docks bounced atop swells at Morehead City.

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Wilmington resident Julie Terrell was plenty concerned after walking to breakfast past a row of shops fortified with boards, sandbags and hurricane shutters.

"On a scale of one to 10, I'm probably a seven in terms of worry, she said".

The hurricane was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as sluggish and unprepared for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico a year ago.

This is why you don't mess with Mother Nature.

Forecasters' European climate model is predicting two trillion to 11 trillion gallons of rain will fall on North Carolina over the next week, according to meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com. That's enough water to fill the Empire State Building almost 40,000 times.

About 1.7 million people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia are under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders and millions of others live in areas likely to be affected by what officials called a "once in a lifetime" storm. Along the coast, fewer homes have flood insurance than five years ago.

"The anxiety level has dropped substantially", Epperson said.

"It doesn't matter how much money you have or how many generators you have if you can't get gas", she said. "A storm can come and wipe your house out overnight". Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storm's aftermath, it said.

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