Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

Beaufort, Jasper ordered to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Florence

Beaufort, Jasper ordered to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Florence

And with little wind shear to pull the storm apart, Florence's hurricane wind field was expected to expand over the coming days, increasing its storm surge and inland wind threats, and raising the likelihood of life-threatening freshwater flooding.

States of emergency were declared by Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser for the nation's capital; requested by Virginia's governor; and approved by US President Donald Trump for North and SC.

Hurricane Florence appears to have weakened slightly but is expected to restrengthen later on Tuesday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its latest advisory. And Virginia's governor ordered a mandatory evacuation for some residents of low-lying coastal areas.

A mandatory evacuation order takes effect Tuesday at noon in eight counties along South Carolina's 187-mile coastline.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said on September 10 that evacuations for all coastal zones in the state will begin on September 11, before Hurricane Florence hits.

Reacting to the possibility of a more southerly track, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal declared an emergency but did not immediately order any evacuations.

Florence's nighttime winds were down to 115 miles per hour (185 kph) from a high of 140 miles per hour (225 kph), and the Category 4 storm fell to a Category 3, with a further slow weakening expected as the storm nears the coast.

North Carolina alone is forecast to get 9.6 trillion gallons, enough rain to cover the Tar Heel state in about 10 inches (25 centimeters) of water.

"We here in North Carolina are bracing for a hard hit", governor Roy Cooper said during a press conference on Monday.

But it's forecast to strengthen to near the level of a Category 5 storm - which has sustained winds of 157 miles per hour or more.

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"We want to make sure that we get the best data going to the National Hurricane Center. and to emergency managers and to the media so we can get people out of the way", Flaherty said.

For many, the challenge could be finding a safe refuge.

With a mandatory evacuation order in place, St. Joseph's/Candler will be closing all practices in SC. He said that the hurricane could only be captured on a super-wide lens, even from 400 kilometres up. Strong storm surge, unrelenting rain, and extremely high winds will start arriving as early as Thursday with hurricane and storm surge warnings in effect.

Jones urged Chatham County residents to continue to monitor Florence and be generally prepared for hurricanes with a hurricane kit, shelter-in-place supplies and an evacuation plan.

The storm will first pass over the North Atlantic Ocean, then pass between the island of Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday.

On Monday Florence had strengthened into a category 4 hurricane.

"It's on par with the storms we flew past year, like Maria and Irma", Kibbey said.

"Regardless of where the storm makes landfall, all residents in Stanly should prepare for this hurricane", said Brian T. Simpson, director of emergency services.

Lining up behind Florence, Isaac was about 1,150 miles (1,855 kilometers) east of the Windward Islands with top winds of 75 mph (120 kph) early Monday, moving west at 14 mph (22 kph).

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