Hurricane Florence now a Category 2, but remains ‘extremely dangerous’

14 Septembre, 2018, 15:33 | Auteur: Therese Cote

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

"It truly is really about the whole size of this storm", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said. The Wilmington area can now expect 9-to-13-foot storm surges if Florence's peak impact coincides with high tide, Brunswick County coastal areas west of Southport can expect 6-to-9-foot surges.

In a video posted to his Twitter account on Wednesday, US President Donald Trump warned residents in Florence's bullseye to heed official warnings.

Forecasters said conditions will only get more lethal as the storm smashes ashore early Friday near the North Carolina-South Carolina line and crawls slowly inland.

The Miami-based NHC stressed, however, that while a slow weakening is expected over the next 24 hours "Florence is still forecast to be an extremely risky major hurricane when it nears the U.S. coast late Thursday and Friday".

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency "in light of the storm's forecasted southward track after making landfall".

Updated NHC forecasts showed the storm lingering near the coast of the Carolinas, carrying days of heavy rains that could bring intense inland flooding from SC to Virginia.

Up to 1.7 million people are under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders, and coastal residents were frantically boarding up homes and businesses and hitting the road on Wednesday as the storm approached.

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Forecasters say the storm poses such a threat because it is expected to slow down and hover for almost two days over the Carolina coast, before dipping south towards Georgia.

Duke Energy Corp expected between 25 percent and 75 percent of its 4 million customers would lose power in the Carolinas. One North Carolina woman packed flowers to leave on her son's grave.

Hours later, Mr Trump approved emergency declarations for both coastal states, a move allowing the release of federal funds and equipment to help protection and recovery efforts. "It's going to happen".

"We're just trying to plan for the future here, not having a house for an extended period of time", David Garrigus said.

Officials in New Hanover County, which includes Wilmington, have stockpiled enough food and water for 60,000 people for four days, along with more than 28,000 tarps.

"It's going to be bad", said Woody White, chairman of the New Hanover County Commissioners. When Hurricane Floyd made landfall near Cape Fear in 1999 as a Category 2 storm, bloated carcasses of hundreds of thousands of hogs, chickens and other drowned livestock bobbed in a nose-stinging soup of fecal matter, pesticides, fertilizer and gasoline so toxic that fish flopped helplessly to escape it.

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.

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