Hurricane Florence: over 1m ordered to evacuate in SC and Virginia

Olive Hawkins
September 11, 2018

Forecasters are also tracking two more hurricanes that have formed to the east of Florence: Hurricane Helene, which strengthened to a Category 2 storm off the west coast of Africa today, and Hurricane Isaac, a Category 1 storm now located roughly halfway between Florence and Helene.

Kim Buttrick, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said Florence and the two other hurricanes now over the Atlantic - Isaac and Helene - are not expected to have any direct impact on New England.

The water could rise 6 to 12 feet in the area of Cape Fear to Cape Lookout, including the Neuse and Pamlico rivers, says the National Hurricane Center.

Cooper and his counterparts in South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland all declared states of emergency. As Axios noted, many areas in the path of the storm have not seen hurricanes of this strength for decades-like Charleston, South Carolina, where the last Category 4 storm was Hugo in 1989.

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Hurricane Isaac, stirring in the mid-Atlantic Ocean with twist rates of around 75 miles per hour, is following firmly behind Florence.

And with little wind shear to pull the storm apart, Florence's hurricane wind field was expected to expand over the coming days, increasing its storm surge and inland wind threats, and raising the likelihood of life-threatening freshwater flooding. Marty Bahamonde, the Director of Disaster Operations at the Office of External Affairs at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), tweeted out this harrowing image of all the storms stretching from the Pacific to the Atlantic that the government is tracking.

Navy ships off Virginia's coast are getting ready to sail out of the path of the powerful hurricane and one North Carolina university has cancelled classes. "We just happen to be right in the middle".

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"We've got a major hurricane hitting the southeastern United States...."

At a Home Depot in Wilmington, North Carolina, Billy Nivens told CNN they ran out of water, plywood, generators, flashlights, propane, batteries and five-gallon gas cans by Monday afternoon.

"The chances of it going out to sea are extremely slim at this point", she said.

Almost 30 ships were preparing to depart early yesterday. The Central Pacific Hurricane Center has projected that Olivia will weaken and likely be a tropical storm by the time it hits the islands late Tuesday through Wednesday.

North Carolina governor Roy Cooper said his state was "in the bullseye" of the storm.

Impacts of the storm are likely to begin tomorrow. He said the storm surge could reach as high as 10ft (3m) and estimated that one million residents would be leaving the coast.

Two other hurricanes - Isaac and Helene - have also formed in the Atlantic Ocean.

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