Latest Updates on Hurricane Florence and the Storm's Impact on Travel

Sep 14, 2018, 00:46

Many seaports and airports along the southeastern US coastline have been shut down, more than 1,000 flights have been canceled, and some highways and bridges in low-lying coastal areas could close soon, as Hurricane Florence gets closer to 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.

"The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore winds, where the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves". If the two systems become tropical storms, it would be the first time the Atlantic has had five named storms at once, Colorado State University meteorologist Phil Klotzbach said.

"This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding", the briefing said. The hurricane which continued on into North Carolina as a Category 2 storm caused billions of dollars in the Carolinas, where people were stunned by the damage they saw.

"Sometimes tankers have to wait in line for hours to refuel their 10,000 gallon tanks", he says.

Marshall: When should we now expect landfall along the coast? In addition to the hurricane's obvious risks, the National Weather Service says, "A few tornadoes are possible in eastern North Carolina through Friday".

But despite the drop in wind strength, the most unsafe threat comes from Florence's rains and storm surge, which could bring flooding far inland.

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The large hurricane is expected to stall and meander near the Carolina coast from late Thursday night to Saturday, which increases the danger of the strong storm.

Gradually, Friday through the weekend (local time), the massive storm - containing a zone of tropical-storm-force winds almost 643km wide - will drift inland, engulfing much of SC and southern North Carolina.

"3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico", Trump said on Twitter.

Florence's winds had dropped from a peak of 140 miles per hour to 105 miles per hour by Thursday, reducing the hurricane from a terrifying Category 4 to a 2.

Computer simulations - especially the often star-performing European model - push the storm further south, even into SC and Georgia.

A similar section of Wales and the Cornish peninsular are also expected to bear the brunt of any storm-like weather, although much of the rest of England could be noticeably windier by the time Helene hits land on Tuesday morning.

The storm is also predicted to bring historic rainfall of up to 35 inches to the Wilmington region.

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"This is not going to be a glancing blow", Byard said, warning of power outages, road closures, infrastructure damage and potential loss of life.

Businesses in Wrightsville Beach, N.C., prepare for Hurricane Florence on Wednesday. The number is expected to rise, the flight-tracking service said. "We're about to be in the thick of it".

The NHC said Florence is expected to be an "extremely unsafe major hurricane" when it makes landfall in the Carolinas late Thursday or early Friday, bringing life-threatening storm surge to coastal areas.

The storm's center was about 170 miles southeast of Wilmington at 8 a.m. Thursday, according to a National Hurricane Center briefing. "A lot of rain", said Maj. "We've just never seen anything like this". "It will probably fall faster than it can leave. There will be some rain but at the moment it doesn't look as though that's going to be the issue".

"Just because the wind speeds came down, the intensity of this storm came down to a Category 2, please do not let your guard down", said FEMA Administrator Brock Long. Given its expected slow speed once it rolls ashore, they warned the heavy rain and storm could spread across a wide area. It's already been raining in these areas and the ground is sodden.

Although the storm is approaching the US coastline as a Category 2 hurricane after weakening from a Category 4 storm, that doesn't mean the storm will be gentle.

"This is a life-threatening situation". That same area experienced unsafe flooding after Hurricane Matthew in 2016. The storm is massive and was a Category 4 hurricane at its worst that will devastate anything it encounters.

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For some residents, evacuation plans were hampered by gasoline shortages. Cooper said he hopes more shelters will also open today.