Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

'This storm is a monster' - 1.7 million flee from Florence

'This storm is a monster' - 1.7 million flee from Florence

As of Wednesday night, Florence's tropical storm force winds were almost 400 miles wide - or the roughly the equivalent of driving from Washington, D.C, to Charlotte, North Carolina; or from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to St. Louis; or from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

USA weather authorities say that as of Wednesday night, local time, Hurricane Florence was moving northwest over the Atlantic and is expected to hit North Carolina on Friday afternoon.

An extremely powerful hurricane is forecast to make landfall in the southern part of the United States later this week.

Despite pleas from officials, some residents rejected calls to evacuate.

People walk past storm shuttered buildings on the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk in Myrtle Beach.

The storm is moving steadily toward the Carolinas' coastal areas.

Helene was located about 1,470 miles (2,370 km) south-southwest of the Azores, packing maximum sustained winds of 100 miles per hour (155 km per hour), the NHC said.

"Data from an Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft along with satellite imagery and various intensity estimates indicate that Florence has weakened instead of strengthening".

It was the second such drop in the space of hours, but the Miami-based NHC stressed it remained "a life-threatening situation" due to the risks of storm surge around coastal areas.

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Florence has it all: Hot ocean temperatures that fuel hurricanes.

About 1.7 million people have already been told to leave their homes in the latter three states, but some who thought they were safely out of the path of the storm are now desperately working to board up their homes and businesses before its arrival. "We are ready. We're as ready as anybody's ever been".

"We're a little anxious about the storm surge so we came down to see what the river is doing now", Smith said.

President Donald Trump has states of emergency for North and SC along with Virginia. "This rainfall would produce catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding", according to NHC.

"On the forecast track, Isaac is anticipated to move near or over the central Lesser Antilles on Thursday and move into the eastern Caribbean Sea later on Thursday night", the NHC said.

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?

He said electric power could be out for weeks. "It's possible that the west coast of Wales and Cornwall could get some winds as well, but we will get a clearer picture of what to expect very soon".

Although its peak winds diminished, forecasters said the storm's total energy grew as its inner core and outlying bands of wind expanded.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, concerned the storm would bring devastation south, issued an emergency declaration for all 159 counties in his state.

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