“It certainly is a challenge forecasting precise impacts when its exact track won’t be known until a day in advance”, Landsea said.
Hurricane Florence’s leading edge battered the Carolina coast Thursday, bending trees and shooting frothy sea water over streets on the Outer Banks, as the hulking storm closed in with 90 miles per hour (135 kph) winds for a drenching siege that could last all weekend. “We have 2 out-of-state FEMA teams here for swift water rescue”.
Early on Thursday, the storm was centred 235 miles east-south-east of Wilmington, North Carolina, moving north-west at 17mph. There were also several thousand outages each in Craven, Pamlico and Onslow counties. Wilmington is expected to get battered before the storm drifts south.
Duke Energy Corp expected between 25 percent and 75 percent of its 4 million customers would lose power in the Carolinas.
Transportation companies in Georgia and the Carolinas sprinted to secure property and employees in the path of Hurricane Florence on Wednesday as disruptions to the US supply chain were already being felt. “Hopefully the Outer Banks will still be here”.
The closure means that people who chose to ride out the storm now officially have no way off the island. All seven of North Carolina’s ferry routes were shut down.
About 10 million people could be affected by the storm, and more than one million were ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia.
Officials in New Hanover County, which includes Wilmington, have stockpiled enough food and water for 60,000 people for four days, along with more than 28,000 tarps.
“It was pitch black and I was just scared out of my mind”, said Tracy Singleton, who with her family later drove through torrential rain and high winds from her home near New Bern to a hotel some 80 miles (130 km) away.
Mandatory evacuation orders have been placed for millions of people along the coast with more to possibly come as the path of the storm becomes more apparent.
Blowing ashore with howling 90 miles per hour winds, Florence splintered buildings, trapped hundreds of people and swamped entire communities along the Carolina coast Friday in what could be just the opening act in a watery, two-part, slow-motion disaster.
The National Weather Service is forecasting “significant” river flooding, especially in the northeastern portion of the state.
“This is a very risky hurricane”, Mr McMaster said, adding that the evacuation order for coastal counties was “mandatory, not voluntary”.
Overall, risky storm surge is possible all the way from Edisto Beach, South Carolina, to the North Carolina/Virginia border.
A few locals briefly walked into the sand but were quickly sandblasted back by stiff winds.
While people in the Mid-Atlantic states make their last-minute preparations for Hurricane Florence, emergency responders from the Tampa Bay region are there in North Carolina, helping with medical evacuations.
Northam spoke at a news conference Thursday with emergency management officials. In Hurricane Sandy in 2012, storm surge-induced flooding measured as high as 9 feet above ground in parts of NY and New Jersey, leading to billions of dollars in damages.
“Today is the time to get your preparedness actions complete”, he said.
The storm has pretty much followed the forecast track through now, but the issue will be Thursday or Friday as it nears the coast and the steering currents collapse. But previous research has shown that the strongest hurricanes are getting wetter, more intense and intensifying faster because of human-caused climate change.