Hurricane Florence evacuations expand, with 'disaster at doorstep'

Hurricane Florence evacuations expand, with 'disaster at doorstep'

Hurricane Florence is forecast to be an extremely unsafe major hurricane when it nears the US coast, while some weakening is expected on Thursday, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its latest advisory on Wednesday.

At 5 p.m., Isaac was located about 560 miles east of Barbados, packing maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour and storm force winds extending 105 miles from the centre.

A graphic of Hurricane Florence's path, generated today (Sept. 12) at 2 p.m. ET by the National Hurricane Center, shows an approximate representation of coastal areas under a hurricane warning (red), hurricane watch (pink), tropical storm warning (blue) and tropical storm watch (yellow).

"The Atlantic now has three hurricanes at the same time: Hurricane Florence, Helene, and Isaac".

The hurricane center is forecasting the storm to hover near the coast Saturday with winds of around 80 miles per hour (130 kph) before landfall, but with rainfall in the 20 to 30 inches (50 to 75 centimeter) range and up to 13 feet (nearly 4 meters) of storm surge.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference that the "historic" hurricane would unleash rains and floods that would inundate nearly the entire state in several feet of water.

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

"We have seen a dramatic shift in the track", Scasny said, adding that big changes to the storm's behavior could emerge within the next two days.

Five Killed as Florence Hammers the Carolinas
Hurricane expert Dr Rick Knabb warns: "Yes good news that intensity of Florence has come down, to lessen wind damage somewhat". It is expected to bring massive amounts of rain , devastating flooding gale-force winds that could knock out power for weeks.

Time is running short to get out of the way of Hurricane Florence, a monster of a storm that has a region of more than 10 million people in its potentially devastating sights as it zeroes in on the Southeastern coast.

"Strength, track, and forward speed of Florence will be the major players in determining the scope and amount of rainfall and correspondingly the severity of inland flooding", according to AccuWeather forecaster Dan Kottlowski on September 12.

Jeff Byard, an administrator at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said: Do you want to get hit with a train or do you want to get hit with a cement truck?

The storm was centred about 835 miles (1340 kilometres) southeast of Bermuda and moving west at 7 mph (11 kph).

The states of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland have all declared states of emergency ahead of Florence.

Duke Energy Corp expected between 25 percent and 75 percent of its 4 million customers would lose power in the Carolinas.

The storm is not expected to change much in strength before making landfall. The storm is expected to slow down, stall and then perhaps wander just off the Carolina shore as it nears the coast Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The flooding in southeast North Carolina and northeast SC might be "unprecedented", according to the agency.

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