Published: Thu, September 13, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

Hurricane Florence Shifts Course, Will Make a 'Grand Tour' of Southeastern States

Hurricane Florence Shifts Course, Will Make a 'Grand Tour' of Southeastern States

Hurricane Florence's rainfall now lurks just over 100 miles off the coast of the Carolinas and time is running out to prepare.

The centre of Florence, a slow-moving Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, is expected to strike North Carolina late Thursday or early Friday and could drift southwest along the coast before turning inland, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

"We are on the wrong side of this storm where most of the damage is done", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said at a Wednesday briefing on the storm.

President Trump on Wednesday said that as Hurricane Florence makes its way toward the US, "protection of life is the absolute highest priority".

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.

"Get out of its way, don't play games with it, it's a big one, maybe as big as they've seen", Trump said. Florence's nighttime winds were down to 110 miles per hour from a high of 140 miles per hour, and the Category 3 storm dropped to a Category 2, with a further slow weakening expected as the storm nears the coast.

Vice President Pence will go to Atlanta on Thursday to review preparations for Hurricane Florence, the Category 4 storm that is expected to make landfall later this week.

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"This is not going to be a glancing blow", warned Jeff Byard, an administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

More than 1.5 million people have been ordered to evacuate coastal areas ahead of the storm because of both destructive winds and a storm surge that could place normally dry land under at least 10 feet of water.

Duke Energy, the nation's No. 2 power company, said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its four million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks.

Florence could strengthen some over open water and then weaken as it nears land, but the difference won't make it any less risky, forecaster Stacy Stewart wrote in a National Hurricane Center discussion. "I encourage Georgians to be prepared for the inland effects of the storm as well as the ensuing storm surge in coastal areas".

The hurricane is expected to weaken into a tropical depression as it continues westward into SC and Georgia.

Her children are adults now and live out of her home, and her husband is caring for their two dogs while she is hunkered down in Roper. But, he says, the medical staff at the school was helping him secure more pills.

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