Published: Thu, September 13, 2018
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

'Monster' Hurricane Florence takes aim at U.S. Southeast

'Monster' Hurricane Florence takes aim at U.S. Southeast

Hurricane warnings have been issued by the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) for portions of SC and North Carolina due to Hurricane Florence, according to the agency's 5 p.m. update on September 11.

"Life-threatening storm surge is forecast along the South Carolina, North Carolina and Southeast Virginia coasts Thursday and Friday", announced Governor Henry McMaster - (R) South Carolina.

"Between the lines: Hurricane Florence could become the strongest hurricane on record to strike so far north if it makes landfall north of the border between SC and North Carolina as a Category 4 or 5 storm".

The National Weather Service's best guess was that the hurricane would blow ashore Saturday morning along the North Carolina-South Carolina line, then push its rainy way westward with a potential for catastrophic inland flooding. The forecast is for landfall to occur overnight Thursday into Friday morning.

Boeing Co suspended work on Tuesday at the SC plant where it assembles 787 widebody jetliners, and a Volvo automobile plant in South Carolina's evacuation zone was also closed, company officials said.

"We are already experiencing heavily impacted traffic on some of the evacuation routes", said Jeff Byard, the associate administrator for response and recovery at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). "The term mandatory evacuation rings hollow because there's no good way to actually enforce it but if you call it something else people are not going to follow". That is what happened a year ago with Hurricane Harvey, which brought more than 150 centimeters of rain to the Houston, Texas area.

It could stall just off the coast and then drift south along the SC coast and possibly make a landfall as a weaker system if it doesn't make it clearly over the coast of North Carolina.

Latest On Hurricane Heading For The Carolinas
Behind Isaac, Hurricane Helene is picking up strength, with twist paces of more than 105 miles per hour as of Monday afternoon. Hurricane Florence is expected to hit the USA coast in the later half of this week, possibly as early as Wednesday evening .

President Donald Trump has declared states of emergency for North and SC and Virginia, saying the U.S. government is "absolutely, totally prepared" for Florence.

"The Charleston area now is expected to see at least 1-2 inches of rain over the next several days".

Power in some areas is likely to be out for several days, and storm surge is expected to flood widespread areas, he said, including inland regions of the state. I believe that was a Category 1 storm when it hit Charlotte.

The storm's 175-mile (282 km) wide "cone of probability" suggests the storm will likely hit North Carolina's coast near Cape Fear, but storms fall outside the cone one-third of the time, according to The Weather Channel.

Rather than pushing up toward western Virginia, the storm's center is now predicted to move across the middle of SC. "Everyone was sold out", she said. In the Wilmington area, Florence could batter the coast with 140 miles per hour winds and more than 20 inches of rain. Winds from the east have been causing coastal flooding this week along the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, with high tides as much as 2 feet above normal in Anne Arundel, Calvert and St. Mary's counties.

Abigail Darlington, covers the city of Charleston for the South Carolina Post and Courier.

Global News is on the ground in the storm-impacted areas and will be providing updates in the live blog below.

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