Hurricane Florence Poised to Hit, Sit on US East Coast

Ignacio Smith
September 13, 2018

Wilmington, North Carolina, just north of where the hurricane is expected to come ashore, was sunny around midday on Wednesday as the town appeared to be emptying.

The first rains and strong winds from Hurricane Florence began hitting North Carolina early Thursday, leading the way for a storm packing 110-mph winds.

As of Tuesday, about 1.7 million people in North and SC and Virginia were under warnings to evacuate the coast, and hurricane watches and warnings extended across an area with about 5.4 million residents.

"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", the NWS report said.

The North Carolina state government is making preparations to prepare for the impacts of Florence.

At 11:00 am (1600 GMT), the eye of the storm was about 485 miles (785 kms) southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, moving in a northwest direction at 15 mph (24 kph).

As of Tuesday, about 1.7 million people in North and SC and Virginia were under warnings to evacuate the coast, and hurricane watches and warnings extended across an area with about 5.4 million residents.

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Florence's expanse has even captured the attention of the astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station, who have been tweeting pictures of the storm back to Earth.

The last time the U.S. capital declared a state of emergency was in January 2016 when a winter storm dubbed "Snowzilla" blanketed the capital region in knee-deep snow.

Florence could strengthen some over open water and then weaken as it nears land, but the difference won't make it any less unsafe, forecaster Stacy Stewart wrote in a National Hurricane Center discussion.

It is predicted to deliver tropical-storm-force winds by noon Thursday to North Carolina's coast, and hurricane-force winds and unsafe storm surges by late Thursday or early Friday.

Florence will bring large rainfall totals through Saturday in North Carolina, north SC and Virginia, causing catastrophic flash flooding.

Officials in SC said they were unnerved to learn that the projected path of the hurricane had veered south. Gov. Henry McMaster said Wednesday that 300,000 people in the state had evacuated.

Watch Spectrum News LIVE on your desktop, laptop or mobile device for storm coverage.

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"This morning I drove around for an hour looking for gas in Cary".

The photos in Gerst's post capture Florence mid-churn, winds up to 130 miles per hour whipping around the storm's eye.

Leaders of the states in the path of the storm have warned people all week to evacuate the most susceptible areas. "But it's moving at a steady clip and baring down on some pretty vulnerable parts of North Carolina".

Devastating flooding appears likely for southeastern North Carolina.

In Virginia, 245,000 coastal residents were ordered to evacuate.

A state of emergency has been declared in Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington amid concern over potential torrential rain and flooding.

"I think Puerto Rico was incredibly successful", Trump said Tuesday, adding that he thought the storms that hit the island were "probably the hardest" thus far due to "the island nature". Slower storms mean more rainfall over a smaller area.

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Subtropical storm Joyce formed in the Atlantic on Wednesday but is not expected to threaten land.

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