1.5 Million Evacuated as North Carolina Prepares for Hurricane Florence
Hurricane Florence, a powerful Category 4 storm, is less than 48 hours out from making landfall in the Carolinas. This morning, Hurricane models are predicting that Florence will stall over the Carolina coast and make an unexpected shift south toward South Carolina. According to Fox News Senior Meteorologist Janice Dean, this behavior might cause "a major flooding event."
Though the storm is predicted to veer south, meteorologists are still urging Virginians to prepare for the possibility of heavy rains and tropical storm speed winds.
According to the Washington Post, the Cat. 4 storm is predicted to have damaging winds, cause flash flooding, and could possibly cause widespread power outages.
The Post reports that the storm could cause the sea level to rise by 9 feet at its peak and heavy winds have the potential to take down trees and damage property. Similar to Hurricane Harvey’s behavior, Hurricane Florence is expected to slow significantly when it reaches the coast and dump dangerous amounts of rain in the Carolinas.
Florence is predicted to be the most intense storm to strike the region since Hugo, some 25 years ago.
Forecasts hypothesize that Florence’s center will arrive at the South and North Carolina border on Friday as either a Category 3 or 4 hurricane. As the storm approaches the coast, its forward motion will rapidly slow, with the winds and rain continuing at full-strength.
“This will likely be the storm of a lifetime for portions of the Carolina coast,” the National Weather Service in Wilminton, N.C., wrote Tuesday, “and that’s saying a lot given the impacts we’ve seen from hurricanes Diana, Hugo, Fran, Bonnie, Floyd, and Matthew.”
The National Hurricane Center is warning residents of three major effects the storm may have. First, the storm is predicted to have a “life-threatening storm surge” at the coast. This would mean the ocean water would rise to tsunami-like levels over normally dry land. Second, the storm is likely to cause “life-threatening freshwater flooding from a prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall event” across the state, both on the coast and in the interior. Finally, meteorologists are warning residents of the “Damaging hurricane-force winds.”
Florence, like Hurricane Harvey did over Texas in 2017, could stall over the Southeast and dump 15 to 25 inches of rain and in some places up to 40 inches.
The Washington Post reports that flooding due to heavy rains is the second-leading cause of death in landfalling tropical storms and hurricanes.
As of yesterday, more than 1.5 million people have been ordered to evacuate coastal areas ahead of the storm.
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