Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

Hurricane Florence packing a 'Mike Tyson punch', says top USA official

Hurricane Florence packing a 'Mike Tyson punch', says top USA official

It had been projected to shift north after making landfall.

"Disaster is at the doorstep and is coming in", Cooper said. Landfall was expected sometime late Thursday and FEMA officials said Wednesday was the last day for people to get out safely.

"Unfortunately, Hurricane Florence is setting out to be a devastating event to the Carolinas, and potentially Virginia as well".

It's all eyes on Hurricane Florence over the next several days.

Timing: When Will Hurricane Florence Strike?

The forecast shows landfall occurring early on September 15, 2018 after an update indicated weather conditions would slow down the storm; the update was issued on September 12, 2018.

The storm, which is poised to affect millions this week in the southeastern US, is "expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and rainfall" to North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, and parts of the Mid-Atlantic states, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

"Hurricane and storm surge watches now blanket much of the SC and North Carolina coasts, and enormous rainfall totals could be in store for coastal areas as well as inland".

The storm is now expected to make landfall in the lower Outer Banks of North Carolina early Friday morning or possibly stay in the ocean before making a shift to the left toward SC.

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In Carolina Beach, an island community off the coast of Wilmington, 75 percent of residents have already left town.

The NHC said the first tropical storm-force winds of at least 39 miles per hour (63 kph) would hit the region early on Thursday with the storm's center reaching the coast Friday.

Even more troubling is the amount of rain that could fall in southeastern North Carolina due to the storm slowing down or stalling out. A steady stream of vehicles filled with people and belongings is moving inland.

Helene was weakening, however, and posed no danger to land, the NHC said, while Isaac could bring heavy rain to Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe.

For many of those under evacuation orders, getting out of harm's way has proved difficult, as airlines cancelled flights and motorists had a hard time finding gas.

In Virginia, 245,000 coastal residents were ordered to evacuate, including from the Eastern Shore.

President Trump has declared an emergency in the three states and says the government is "as ready as anybody has ever been". Flooding well inland could wreak environmental havoc by washing over industrial waste sites and hog farms.

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