Hurricane Florence impacts college football games in Carolinas, Virginia
15 September, 2018, 19:18 | Author: Chad Warren
If maps of Florence's trajectory are correct, it will become the most powerful storm to strike the Carolinas in almost three decades.
National Hurricane Centre director Ken Graham warned that Florence is forecast to linger over the Carolinas once it reaches shore.
"This increasingly severe, potentially unprecedented storm is hurdling to the epicenter of animal agriculture in North Carolina", said Will Hendrick, a staff attorney and manager for a water campaign in the state for the Waterkeeper Alliance.
On Tuesday morning, data from an Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft showed that Florence's sustained winds had weakened somewhat from the 140 miles per hour speeds reported earlier.
While Florence is expected to strengthen as it approaches the Carolina coast, the storm will weaken before it makes landfall. The middle of the cone shows Florence coming ashore around Topsail Island - a slightly southern tweak from earlier projections.
North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland governors have declared states of emergency.
None of the 17 storms in 2017 made landfall in Canada. And with little wind shear to pull the storm apart, Florence's hurricane-strength winds were expanding, reaching 40 miles (64 kilometers) from the eye of the storm.
Its expected sluggishness is becoming more common, possibly a result of climate change, said National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration climate scientist and hurricane expert Jim Kossin.
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. But even the most secure homes could be surrounded by water, or penetrated by wind-launched debris.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed declarations of emergency for both North Carolina and SC, freeing up federal money and resources for storm response. Some isolated areas could get 30 inches, forecasters said.
"Where else can we go?"
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam ordered a mandatory evacuation for about 245,000 residents of low-lying coastal areas, while some coastal counties in North Carolina have done the same. "This rainfall may produce life-threatening flash flooding". The hurricane center predicts a "heavy rainfall event, which may extend inland over the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic for hundreds of miles".
Although the storm's winds will likely diminish rapidly after making landfall, the heavy rain will persist as it stalls over portions of North Carolina and Virginia. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. "Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months".
However, Hubbard said Florence is not expected to have any impact on Canada, given its predicted track into the USA mainland, where it will likely weaken considerably on the weekend. At that level, it would still cause "devastating damage", according to the Saffir-Simpson scale.
Two other storms are spinning in the Atlantic.
Helene is one of three major storms now swirling in the Atlantic.
With the remnants of one tropical storm already dumping rain across Atlantic Canada on Tuesday, residents were keeping a close watch on three other storms churning their way across the Atlantic.
Forecasters cautioned, though, Florence could impact anywhere from northern Florida to north of the Washington, D.C., area. Freshwater flooding is extremely likely once the storm makes landfall, possibly as far inland as West Virginia .
Florence has been moving more toward the west and slightly northwest, potentially making direct landfall coming in from the east. Tropical Storm Florence was upgraded to a hurricane on Sunday morning by the National Hurricane Center.
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