Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

Hurricane Florence is producing waves as high as 83 feet

Coweta County residents can breathe a brief a small sigh of relief, at least on Thursday morning.

About 10 million people could be affected by the storm and more than 1 million had been ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia, jamming westbound roads and highways for miles.

Hurricane Florence has picked up strength as it barrels toward the Carolinas, with an expected landfall pushed back to early Saturday.

The storm's surge, the rise in sea water above normally dry land at the coast, could reach up to 13 feet at peak.

Georgia's governor has declared a state of emergency on Wednesday for all Georgia counties as Hurricane Florence nears certain parts of the state.

"An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft that was in the hurricane until just after midnight" recorded a peak wind gust of around 150 miles per hour, according to the hurricane center.

The hurricane was about 470 miles (755 km) east-southeast of Myrtle beach SC, with maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour (205 km/h), the Miami, Florida-based weather forecaster said.

"Once the storm starts to move inland it will break apart", Jones explained.

They showed us instruments that function nearly like weather balloons, that are dropped into the storm to gather data that satellites can't. It will be more tropical depression at that point.

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"We could get some rain and gusty winds. It's too early to tell", he added.

Florence was downgraded to a Category 1 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale on Thursday evening and was moving west at only 6 miles per hour (9 km/h). "Now it might be time for the exam", Baxley said late in the morning.

FEMA Administrator Brock Long urged people to prepare for a "very devastating storm", with possibly weeks-long power outages.

With the change in the forecast, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal issued an emergency declaration for the entire state to ease regulations on trucks hauling gasoline and relief supplies, and asked people to pray for those in Florence's path.

Here are some of the best images of Hurricane Florence by Gerst and Ricky Arnold, a fellow NASA astronaut who's also living on board the ISS.

The declaration covers nearly the entire state and includes Coweta County and the surrounding area.

The National Weather Center said Florence will likely be "the storm of a lifetime" for portions of the Carolina coast.

The NHC said Florence is expected to be an "extremely risky major hurricane" when it makes landfall in the Carolinas late Thursday or early Friday, bringing life-threatening storm surge to coastal areas. Catastrophic floods could follow if the storm stalls inland, it said.

The Category 4 storm was expected to start hitting the North and SC coasts sometime Thursday or Friday, and should make landfall near Wilmington, N.C., early Saturday morning, according to the latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center.

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