Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

People are having ‘hurricane parties’ to distract themselves from Florence

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Sandra Phillips | 13 September, 2018, 22:01

The storm is expected to slowly move inland, battering much of the USA coast for days.

Media captionWhy do people ignore hurricane warnings? Maximum sustained winds are near 110 miles per hour (175 km/h) with higher gusts.

In Virginia, where about 245,000 residents were ordered to evacuate low-lying areas, officials urged people to remain away from home despite forecast changes showing Florence's path largely missing the state.

The hurricane is now centered about 220 miles (354km) east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and 170 miles to the south-east of Wilmington, North Carolina.

Although the suggestive graphic was presumably an accident, it is somehow a fitting representation for a storm that has already been described as "tremendously big and tremendously wet" in a White House briefing from Donald Trump this Tuesday.

However, all coastal communities are in danger of storm surge, and Florence could bring wind damage and flooding to communities near the Virginia line.

People in areas vulnerable to the unsafe hurricane, particularly those in coastal regions, have fled ahead of the storm.

"We expected it to strengthen and then as it approached the coast to weaken somewhat", Abrams says.

"A slow motion over eastern SC is forecast Friday night through Saturday night".

Forecast models predict Florence's center may slow to a crawl just off North Carolina early Friday and make a southwesterly turn - punishing the coast while moving perhaps only 2 to 3 miles per hour.

North Carolina and SC are bracing for the onslaught, which could bring storm surges as high as nine feet and rainfall of as much as 40 inches in some areas.

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Like a bulldozer, the storm's winds and forward motion will push a tremendous amount of water onshore when it makes landfall.

The NHC notes that amount of rainfall would "produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding".

Hurricane-like conditions are expected to arrive in the areas covered by warnings by Thursday night or early Friday.

"Honestly, it tears me up thinking that what if in the end of this, this is all we have left", Jones said. Airlines had canceled almost 1,000 flights and counting. As Carolina officials are warning residents: leave, now, or else you're on your own.

Florence's weakening as it neared the coast created tension between some who left home and authorities who anxious that the storm could still be deadly.

President Donald Trump has declared states of emergency for North and SC and Virginia, and 1.7 million people have been warned to leave. "But a storm surge of 20 feet could easily wipe this island out".

People across the region rushed to buy bottled water and other supplies, board up their homes, pull their boats out of the water and get out of town.

"I said, 'Why get on the road like this?" The two hardware chains said they sent in a total of around 1,100 trucks.

Even though the storm's category fell from a 4 to a 2 Wednesday (local time), forecasters stressed the category is only an evaluation of the storm's peak winds in a very narrow core near the center of the storm.

A power outage model run at the University of MI projects that 3.2 million customers will be without electricity because of the storm, mostly in the eastern half of North Carolina.

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