Markets

Hurricane Florence: 'We are planning for devastation'

Hurricane Florence: 'We are planning for devastation'

In a 8 a.m. update, National Hurricane Center forecasters said sustained winds dropped slightly to 130 miles per hour but restrengthening is expected to begin later today, with the storm likely to make landfall along the North or SC coast by Thursday.

Hurricane Florence is expected to hit the region of the Carolinas and Virginia late Thursday or early Friday. It is projected to make landfall between Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina Thursday evening as a Category 4 Major Hurricane. A storm with sustained winds of at least 111 miles per hour classifies as a Category 3 major hurricane, according to the NHC.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam also issued mandatory evacuations to begin Tuesday morning for the most low-lying, flood prone areas of the state - the Eastern Shore and a section of coast identified by officials as "Zone A". SC is also seeing a mass exodus, after the state's governor ordered a mandatory evacuation of the coastal counties.

Any storm surge taller than 12 feet is "life-threatening", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said.

On its current track, Florence is expected to slam South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia the hardest.

Life-threatening and catastrophic river and flash flooding is also a near certainty for the Carolinas.




As one of the nation's foremost experts on storm surge, he warned that if Florence hits at high tide, it could pose serious risks to property and life for any low-lying areas along the coast as well as along any inlets.

The hurricane could remain powerful as it passes over the United States mainland, the NHC warned on Monday morning. Tuesday morning's data from hurricane-hunting aircraft supports this forecast, the center said.

A warm ocean is the fuel that powers hurricanes, and Florence will be moving over waters where temperatures are peaking near 30 degrees Celsius, hurricane specialist Eric Blake wrote. That means high rainfall totals and consequent inland flooding could become a huge concern.

Forecasts call for the system to stall over the state and drench it for days, leading to extensive power outages and flooding.

But, despite the concern from meteorologists, US President Donald Trump was confident, saying the federal government is "absolutely, totally prepared". Shelves in some grocery stores in Raleigh, North Carolina, were already bare, and residents were filling up their petrol tanks. That authorizes the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency "to coordinate all disaster relief efforts", the White House said in a statement. It was centred east-south-east of Cape Fear, North Carolina, and moving west.

"We think this storm is so fierce that we need the added incentive of a state evacuation order to make sure that these people on the barrier islands leave", he said.


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