As Americans in North and SC begin to feel the effects of Hurricane Florence, The Weather Channel has reminded viewers of how unsafe storm surges can be.
Rain, wind and rising floodwaters from Hurricane Florence swamped the Carolinas early today as the massive storm crawled toward the coast, threatening millions of people with record rainfall.
For a Category 2 storm, that means sustained winds of 154-177 km/h (96-110 mph).
Parts of Virginia, North Carolina, and SC have issued mandatory evacuation orders, and governors of all three states as well as Maryland have declared states of emergency in the run-up to Florence making landfall.
Should Florence bring much rain, either over the weekend or next week, the region is already prone to flooding, said Jay Ringgold, Baltimore County’s director of homeland security and emergency management. But that’s still short of an estimated more than 750,000 people who were expected to leave when evacuations were ordered as of noon Tuesday.
More than 1,200 USA airline flights scheduled for Thursday and Friday have been canceled, according to the flight-tracking service FlightAware.
An updated track at 5 a.m. Wednesday update shows the storm changing course and moving more into SC after the hurricane would make landfall.
Meteorologists have warned some rivers may see their flows “reversed”.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami reported “life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds” along the North Carolina coast.
One climate model is predicting that as much as 11 trillion gallons of rain will fall on North Carolina in the coming week – an amount that’s enough to fill the Empire State Building 40 times over.
Isha Renta, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Baltimore/Washington forecast office, said while the forecast may look humdrum for the region, “we can not discount” the storm.
At a press conference Thursday morning, officials stressed that Hurricane Florence’s wind speed may have fallen, but the danger has not.
Aside from wind-shear dangers, concerns are now shifting to flooding and storm surge issues.
The National Hurricane Center said the storm’s strength should continue through Thursday.
But Helene is now moving north east towards the United Kingdom and Isaac is moving west across the Caribbean.
The National Weather Service said 5.25 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million live in places covered by tropical storm warnings or watches.
Stay with NBC Charlotte for the latest developments on Hurricane Florence.
Warm air rises into the storm.
“We’re just trying to plan for the future here, not having a house for an extended period of time”, David Garrigus said.
Steering currents – around clear-weather high-pressure systems and stormy low-pressure systems – redirect hurricanes, with the clear-weather systems acting as walls that storms have to go around.
Gerst tweeted some more images and warnings to the people in the path of the storm. Florence is now at the weakest of five categories on the Saffir-Simpson scale. It is still considered risky with potential for strong winds and hazardous flooding. These winds are still easily capable of causing significant structural damage.