UPDATE on Hurricane Florence
Expanding in size, violent Hurricane Florence is continuing on a beeline toward the East Coast as an “extremely dangerous” Category 4 hurricane. Catastrophic flooding and destructive winds are becoming very likely in the eastern Carolinas.
Forecasts generally project the storm to make landfall between northern South Carolina and North Carolina’s Outer Banks as a strong Category 3 on Thursday, although shifts in the track are possible and storm impacts will expand great distances beyond where landfall occurs.
The National Hurricane Center is warning of a triple threat in the Carolinas and Virginia:
- A “life-threatening storm surge” at the coast — a rise in ocean water over normally dry land.
- “Life-threatening freshwater flooding from a prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall event” from the coast to interior sections.
- “Damaging hurricane-force winds” at the coast and some distance inland.
Like Hurricane Harvey, which stalled over Texas in 2017, Florence could linger over the Southeast for several days after landfall, unloading 15 to 20 inches of rain and isolated amounts to 30 inches. The Hurricane Center said this “could produce catastrophic flash flooding.”
The flooding might be similar to or worse than what the Carolinas experienced during Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
More than 1.5 million people have been ordered to evacuate coastal areas ahead of the storm, due to both destructive winds and storm surge which could place normally dry land under at least 10 feet of water.
“All interests from South Carolina into the Mid-Atlantic region should ensure they have their hurricane plan in place and follow any advice given by local officials,” the Hurricane Center said.
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