Thursday, 22 November, 2018

'It Wants to Get Stronger': NOAA Hurricane Hunter Flies into Florence

Sandra Phillips | 13 September, 2018, 12:12

"Watch out, America!" Gerst, who joined the crew of the International Space Station (ISS) in June, said Wednesday via a tweet featuring pictures he took of Hurricane Florence.

"Get prepared on the East Coast, this is a no-kidding nightmare coming for you", he added.

Storm surges up to 3.9 meters (13 feet), the possibility of tornados and nearly a meter of rain in some areas of North and SC were expected when Hurricane Florence makes landfall late Thursday.

Latonya Willis of Wilmington, N.C., holds her 17 month-old son Ayden with her other children Kaiden and Dailyn in tow Wednesday before heading out on an evacuation bus ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence.

Life-threatening storm surges of up to 13 feet (3.9 meters) were also forecast in some areas along with the possibility of tornadoes in North Carolina.

And an unusual combination of other weather systems that are likely to stall Florence when it hits the Carolinas, allowing it to sit for days and dump huge amounts of rain.

"Get out of its way, don't play games with it". Nathan Deal issued an emergency declaration for the entire state to ease regulations on trucks hauling gasoline and relief supplies.

On Wednesday morning, the storm was about 550 miles from the Carolina coast and remains a Category 4 storm with 130 mph winds.

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It's unclear exactly how many people fled, but more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out.

Across the Carolinas, people are preparing for what experts believe could be a devastating storm.

The Category 4 storm was expected to start hitting the North and SC coasts sometime Thursday or Friday, and should make landfall near Wilmington, N.C., early Saturday morning, according to the latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center.

Hurricane warnings continue in parts of eastern North Carolina and northern coastal SC.

Duke Energy, the nation's No. 2 power company, said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its four million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks.

At 8:00 pm (0000 GMT), the eye of the storm was 335 miles (540 kms) southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, moving northwest at 16 mph (26 kph).

The local adult-services department and the Area Agency on Aging has been in touch with each senior facilities as well, county public information officer Kathryn Murphy said, and has helped them decide whether and how to plan for the hurricane.

Forecasters said it's still too early to declare an all clear just yet.

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