The “probable” forecast path for Florence, a Category 4 hurricane, as of 5 a.m. Wednesday showed the storm shifting further toward the southern North Carolina coast and the northern half of the SC coast, with the forecast cone stretching into Georgia, western North Carolina and Tennessee, according to the National Hurricane Center.
“The atmosphere overall, before the potential landfall, certainly looks like we are going to have a very unsafe hurricane on our hands”, Weather Channel meteorologist Jim Cantore told the Wilmington (N.C.) StarNews. “It is an extremely risky, life-threatening, historic hurricane”, North Carolina governor Roy Cooper said.
If you live in these areas or anywhere else evacuation orders pop up, follow them even if you don’t feel you’re in harm’s way. “Don’t bet your life on riding out a monster”.
A hurricane watch was in effect for Edisto Beach, South Carolina, to Virginia’s southern border, and the first hurricane-force winds arriving late Thursday. SC and North Carolina have ordered evacuations for people living in vulnerable areas along the coast.
Disturbance 95L – using the National Weather Service numbering system – is somewhat less organized Wednesday.
RESIDENT SOT: “Over the years I have seen the damage these storms can do”. Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 60 miles per hour with higher gusts.
The Category 4 weakened slightly to 130 miles per hour in the morning but was expected to re-intensify later Tuesday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The rain threat remains through Saturday, and flooding can last several days. “Everyone was sold out”, she said.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said Tuesday it could be a “once-in-a-lifetime” storm and people shouldn’t try to ride it out. The five adults, six children, and a dog and a cat, will leave their homes Wednesday.
“We’ve seen nor’easters and we’ve seen hurricanes before”, Cooper said, “but this one is different”. He’s staying put – for now.
The vessels would get underway from Naval Station Norfolk and Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek to avoid potential damage from winds and tidal surges, said Colonel Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesman. “My home is all my wife and I have, materially speaking, a lifetime of stuff”. Some 7,000 guard members are ready to mobilize in North Carolina, while 1,100 will be activated in SC. From there, they headed to her father’s home in Ohio. “That means the more trees that could fall, the more power outages”, National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said. “We’ve never left for a storm before”.
What’s more, the research found that storms of super extreme intensity, with maximum sustained winds above 305kph, also became more common.
A hurricane warning – meaning hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours – is in effect for a long stretch of the coast, from the Santee River in SC to Duck, N.C., which is part of the Outer Banks. It urged residents to heed evacuation orders.
Emergency preparations in the area included setting up shelters, switching traffic patterns so that all major roads led away from shore and getting 16 nuclear reactors ready in the three-state region for the storm.
Local rainfall records will definitely be threatened by Florence, Cantore said. Hurricane watch zone is shaded in pink. Others say, they’re out.
Schools and state parks have closed. The forecast is for landfall to occur overnight Thursday into Friday morning.
Similar evacuations are happening all the way up to Virginia, where the governor has ordered a mandatory evacuation for residents of some low-lying coastal areas.
By way of comparison, the maximum intensity of Hurricane Maria, the storm system which path of destruction left nearly 3,000 people dead in Puerto Rico, was 277.8 km/h, (150 knots), the NHC said.