Millions prepare as Hurricane Florence approaches USA coast

Aubrey Yates
September 13, 2018

- Hurricane Florence continues to gain strength while steadily making its way toward the East Coast.

The "Hurricane Hunter" is specially equipped and operated by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to fly through storms to collect data, playing a major role in hurricane forecasting.

The slow movement, combined with the massive amount of moisture this storm holds, will bring unsafe rains - from 20 to 30 inches in coastal North Carolina, with 40 inches possible in isolated areas, the weather service says. Yesterday officials in Beaufort County, home to Hilton Head Island, held a news conference and urged people to leave voluntarily.

Ocean City will begin to experience lingering effects of the weakening category three storm, including wind, rain and tidal flooding, as early as Thursday night, September 13, and into Saturday, September 15.

"While some weakening is expected to begin by late Thursday, Florence is still forecast to be an extremely risky major hurricane when it nears the USA coast on Friday", the NHC said in an 11 a.m.

South Carolina's governor ordered the state's entire coastline evacuated at noon Tuesday and predicted that 1 million people would flee as highways reverse directions.

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"This is a real hurricane that we have coming and our goal is to protect lives and property", said Steve Goldstein, NOAA liaison to FEMA. Wilmington, North Carolina, just north of where Florence appeared headed for shore, grew empty and quiet on Wednesday.

Upon its arrival, the National Hurricane Center projects that Florence could drop anywhere from 20-40 inches of rain along the Carolina coast.

A state of emergency has been declared in D.C. and in states, including Virginia and the Carolina's.

Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help deal with what could be weeks of power outages in the aftermath, the company said. "We've just never seen anything like this".

While Hurricane Florence has sparked state of emergency and mass evacuation, a very unfortunate weather graphic has managed to put a smile on those preparing for the storm.

Two other tropical storms - Isaac and Olivia - have also been in the vicinity this week, with the National Weather Service estimating that some 10.15 million people lived in areas under either hurricane or tropical storm warnings.

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