Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Hurricane Florence: North Carolina residents urged to leave

Hurricane Florence: North Carolina residents urged to leave

The National Hurricane Center states that these storm surges are highly likely along portions of the coastlines of North Carolina and SC.

The storm's maximum sustained winds were clocked late on Wednesday at 110 miles per hour (175 kph), down from a peak of 140 mph a day earlier, before it was downgraded to a Category 3, then a Category 2, on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of wind strength.

Wilmington, North Carolina, just north of where the hurricane is expected to come ashore, was sunny around midday yesterday as the town appeared to be emptying.

The slow-moving storm is expected to bring hurricane winds to America's east coast within 24 hours.

The hurricane was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as sluggish and unprepared for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico a year ago.

The governor of neighbouring North Carolina ordered an evacuation of the Outer Banks, barrier islands that are a popular tourist destination, and parts of coastal Dare County, while a state of emergency was declared in Virginia.

Byard again urged residents in danger zones to heed warnings to either evacuate or hunker down.

At least 25 million residents are at risk from the storm and experts predict its current path could cause up to $170 billion worth of damage, hit up to 759,000 homes and businesses and become the costliest storm to ever hit the U.S.

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The center of Florence will approach the coasts of North and SC on Thursday, then move near or over the coast of southern North Carolina and eastern SC on Thursday night and Friday, the NHC added.

The Category 3 hurricane with winds of 115 mph is expected to produce 20 to 30 inches of rain in the coast North Carolina area, and 5 to 10 inches in western SC and northern North Carolina, per the National Weather Service.

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. It could linger along the Atlantic Coast, dumping massive amounts of rain before drifting inland and bringing its heavy rainfall across the South and into the Mid-Atlantic states by early next week.

Wilmington will likely experience storm surges of up to 13 feet starting on Thursday. "We'll handle it. We're ready, we're able".

There are no plans to make up the game, although USC "will look for an opportunity to play a 12th regular season game" at some point this season, according to the school. "It's a big one", he said.

As of Tuesday, more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out.

"I'm not approaching Florence from fear or panic", said Brad Corpening (35), who planned to ride out the storm in his boarded-up delicatessen in Wilmington.

The most powerful and only Category 4 hurricane in recorded history to hit the North Carolina coast was Hurricane Hazel in October 1954.

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