Published: Thu, September 13, 2018
Science | By Joan Schultz

Carolinas coastal residents wait, watch as Florence's fury begins

Carolinas coastal residents wait, watch as Florence's fury begins

Florence is becoming more of a threat to more people - now including some in Georgia - in more ways. All that said, a saturated ground, even with tropical storm-force winds, will uproot trees. "This rainfall would produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding", the Hurricane Center said.

The storm is expected to slowly move inland, battering much of the U.S. coast for days. Reacting to the possibility of a more southerly track, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal declared an emergency but did not immediately order any evacuations.

This morning, the radar loop out of Morehead North Carolina is beginning to show those fans of heavy rain closing in on the coast.

Thankfully, a large high pressure center will keep us safe from Florence over the weekend here in New England.

At Nags Head on North Carolina's Hatteras Island, only a few people remained to take photos of angry waves topped with white froth.

Scientists hypothesize that a warmer world will bring slower storms, so what we saw last year with Harvey - and now this year with Florence - could be a sign of those changes.

More than 10 million people are under watches and warnings, the Associated Press reported. The governor added that a million or more people could be evacuated before the storm makes landfall.

In addition, the threat of storm surges looms for areas in the path of the storm, meaning life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland is possible in the next 36 hours.

At 8 a.m. EDT (1200 UTC), the center of the eye of Hurricane Florence was located by an Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft and NOAA Doppler weather radars to be near latitude 33.1 degrees north and longitude 75.1 degrees west. A surge of at least 4 feet is predicted for a much larger area.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) issued a storm surge warning for the South Santee River in SC to Duck River in North Carolina, all the way up to the North Carolina-Virginia border. The Charleston area is under a storm surge watch.

Models agree that excessive amounts of rain will fall in southeastern North Carolina.

The National Weather Service issued an ominous warning.

WCNC-TV meteorologist Brad Panovich told WFAE Morning Edition host Marshall Terry that the shift of Florence means more rain for the Charlotte area. The surge won't be as bad as it potentially could have been, however, and the winds won't be as strong.

The hurricane, whose strength has been compared to a direct hit by Mike Tyson, advances with maximum sustained winds of 175 kilometres per hour. We will have tropical storm force winds and rain and storm surge continues to be our main concern with extreme flooding. Older homes and less-reinforced homes will sustain some wind damage as well. Hurricane's typically lose power relatively quickly once they make landfall, but a stalled-out hurricane can recharge itself from warmer coastal waters while simultaneously dumping huge amounts of water on the already-inundated southeast.

A power outage model run at the University of MI projects that 3.2 million customers will be without electricity because of the storm, mostly in the eastern half of North Carolina.

Because the storm will slow it moves over the eastern Carolinas, these wind impacts will be magnified.

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