Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

Georgia governor declares state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Florence

Georgia governor declares state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Florence

SC and North Carolina are evacuating people living in vulnerable areas along the coast.

All three states ordered mass evacuations along the coast.

The category 4 storm carrying maximum sustained winds of 215 km/h would probably strike the southern coast of North Carolina by late Thursday or early Friday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

Now a Category 3 storm, Florence is sustaining winds at 135 miles per hour.

The storm is projected to shift northeast and increase in speed in the coming days, crossing over or near the Azores late Saturday or Sunday.

Florence is now heading for ocean water that has surface temperatures of about 85 degrees, meaning it will most likely strengthen on its way to the East Coast.

Nathan Deal declared of a state of emergency for 159 counties in the state following the updated storm predictions.

In a videotaped message from the White House, US President Donald Trump said the government is fully prepared for Florence but urged people to "get out of its way".

What's worse: Much of the Carolinas are already saturated from rainfall.

News that the storm could plow through SC after landfall came shortly after McMaster lifted his mandatory-evacuation order for Beaufort County and many other areas south of Charleston.

A storm surge warning has been issued from South Santee River, SC, to Duck, NC, and the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.

A NHS forecaster said: "This will likely be the storm of a lifetime for portions of the Carolina coast". "Even though it's down in South and North Carolina, it is a big storm and the track is ever-changing".

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Hurricane-force winds now extend up to 80 miles from the eye of the storm, and tropical-storm-force winds now extend up to 195 miles from the center of the storm. Many major roads and arteries have reversed traffic flow to help residents evacuate quickly.

Forecasters say Florence is now a tropical storm but will continue to threaten North and SC with powerful winds and catastrophic freshwater flooding.

Tropical Storm Florence dumped "epic" amounts of rain on North and SC as it trudged inland on Saturday, knocking out power and causing at least eight deaths as flood waters that have devastated many communities kept rising.

The slow movement, combined with the massive amount of moisture this storm holds, will bring unsafe rains - from 20 to 30 inches in coastal North Carolina and 40 inches possible in isolated areas, the weather service says.

The impact of storm surge on the coast will depend on whether the storm's arrival coincides with high tide.

"I can't emphasise enough the potential for unbelievable damage from wind, storm surge and inland flooding with this storm".

The East Coast isn't the only area facing the brunt of a storm. Gradual weakening is forecast over the next couple of days, and Helene is expected to become a tropical storm on Thursday.

As of 2 p.m., the storm was centered 435 miles (700 kilometers) southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, moving at 16 mph (26 kph).

NASA released a video of the hurricane on Monday as captured by cameras mounted outside the International Space Station.

Florence is the most unsafe of three tropical systems in the Atlantic.

Another disturbance is swirling around in the Gulf of Mexico.

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