Hurricane Florence Could Be East Coast's Strongest Storm In Decades

Hurricane Florence Could Be East Coast's Strongest Storm In Decades

Hurricane Florence Could Be East Coast's Strongest Storm In Decades

Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall somewhere between North Carolina, South Carolina, and the Mid-Atlantic states on Thursday evening or Friday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

State emergency management officials already are considering whether to recommend counties evacuate some homes along the Tar, Lumber and Neuse rivers.

Duke Energy is already projecting widespread power outages in the Carolinas that could take days to weeks to restore, spokeswoman Grace Rountree said.

The governors of Virginia, Maryland, and North and SC have declared states of emergency ahead of the storm.

On Saturday, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the storm.

The hurricane is set to inundate low-lying islands off the coast of North Carolina, like the Outer Banks and other barrier islands, according to the NHC's "cone of probability" forecast.

Residents as far north as Virginia were warned that Florence posed an increasing risk of life-threatening coastal storm surge, as well as flooding from heavy rainfall inland should the slow-moving storm system stall over the Southeast.

Hurricane Florence is intensifying and expected to transform into a major hurricane as it barrels toward the southeastern US coast, where forecasters expect a life-threatening storm surge, major flooding and damaging winds this week. "Further strengthening is anticipated, and Florence is expected to be an extremely unsafe major hurricane through Thursday". "Due to these conditions, Superintendent David Hallac is strongly urging all beach visitors to stay out of the Atlantic Ocean until unsafe conditions subside".

"The evacuation order will be inconvenient, but we do not want to sacrifice one SC life, we are not going to gamble the lives of SC people", McMaster said. "We know we can't play around with this", said Jennifer Oosterwyk, who owns the Sugar Britches boutique on Holden Beach and lives in nearby Wilmington. In September 1989, Hurricane Hugo smashed its way up from the SC coast near Charleston and made a beeline for Charlotte, knocking over thousands of trees and leaving many without power for weeks.

Several meteorologists said Florence could do what Hurricane Harvey did previous year over Texas, dumping days of rain, although not quite as bad.

"Right now it's 625 miles South of Bermuda, with 105 mph winds". The National Hurricane Center will likely start to issue warnings for Florence Tuesday. The hurricane center cited data from a NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft that showed Florence was rapidly intensifying, with maximum sustained winds near 140 miles per hour.

Forecasters also warned that it could unload one or two feet of rain in some places, causing devastating inland flooding, the Associated Press reported.

The U.S. Navy said it was sending almost 30 ships from coastal Virginia out of port to ride out the storm.

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