Hurricane Florence: 'Life-Threatening Monster' Forces Mass Evacuation
CHARLESTON, SC – September 12, 2018
Officials have described Hurricane Florence as a potential "once in a lifetime" storm. The US East Coast is bracing for days of catastrophic storm surges, winds and floods.
In the latest update from the NOAA a storm surge warning has been issued for portions of the coastal regions of North and South Carolina, including the Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds.
Florence is expected to make landfall on Thursday, near Wilmington, North Carolina.
Some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia have been given voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders ahead of the storm's expected landing on Thursday or Friday.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned that people in evacuation zones "need to get out now."
"This storm is a monster," North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference on Tuesday. "It's big and it's vicious.
"It is an extremely dangerous, life-threatening, historic hurricane."
Officials in North and South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC have all declared states of emergency and told residents to prepare for flooding and extended power outages.
Trump told reporters at the White House on Tuesday: “We are sparing no expense. We are totally prepared.”
Communities have been told they could be without electricity for weeks and heavy rainfall will hit miles inland.
Packing winds of up to 140 mph late Tuesday, Florence is expected to further strengthen through Wednesday before slightly weakening on Thursday as it nears the Carolinas.
"Florence is forecast to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane through landfall," the NHC warned, with storm surges of up to 13 feet inundating coastal areas.
As the hurricane moves inland, 15 to 25 inches of rain accumulation are expected, NHC said. In some areas as much as 25 inches of rain may fall.
.@NWSWPC is forecasting a high to moderate risk of flash flooding starting Thursday across most of eastern North Carolina from #Florence. 15-25" with isolated maximum amounts of 35" are possible over portions of North Carolina and Virginia. https://t.co/f4Czb6sTOg pic.twitter.com/kNpMvPfXuj— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) September 11, 2018
According to the chief meteorologist for WCBD-TV in South Carolina, Rob Fowler, Florence was getting bigger, and those even 100 miles away would feel the impact.
He said Florence could rival the impact of Hurricane Hugo, which wreaked $7bn in damage and claimed 49 lives in 1989.
It is also likely to affect the Brunswick Nuclear Plant in Southport, North Carolina, which is just a few miles from where Florence is expected to make landfall.
The rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and river flooding.
More than 5.4 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches. Another 4 million people were under a tropical storm watch.
Last year, the United States was hit by three major hurricanes. Hurricane Maria killed about 3,000 people in Puerto Rico, causing widespread criticism of the Trump administration's response.
Hurricane Harvey killed 68 people and caused catastrophic flooding in Houston, while Hurricane Irma caused 129 storm-related deaths in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina.