Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

'Life-threatening' Hurricane Florence closes in on U.S. east coast

'Life-threatening' Hurricane Florence closes in on U.S. east coast

By Thursday morning, the wind and rain tore the flag down the stripes all the way to the pole.

The storm's centre is expected to make landfall Friday (local time) in southeast North Carolina, which will coincide with the most severe effects.

Usually when a storm approaches the coast, forecasters can tell with ever-increasing accuracy who will get walloped. Then, it will likely hover along the coast on Saturday (Sunday NZT), pushing up to 4m of storm surge and dumping 50 to 75cm of rain on both states, before slogging over the Appalachian Mountains.

Meanwhile the hurricane is forecast to dump 1ft to 2ft 6in of rain that could cause flooding well inland and wreak environmental havoc by washing over industrial waste sites and farms.

Measurements by an Air Force Hurricane Hunter plane indicate that maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 110 miles per hour, with higher gusts. These unforgiving winds will damage homes and buildings, down trees and knock out power. "It's possible that the west coast of Wales and Cornwall could get some winds as well, but we will get a clearer picture of what to expect very soon".

Hurricanes are massive storm systems that form over warm ocean waters and move toward land.

This rainfall could cause risky flash flooding.

Florence has forced people to cut their holidays short along the coast, while the storm's projected path includes half a dozen nuclear power plants, pits holding coal-ash and other industrial waste, and numerous pig farms that store animal waste in huge lagoons. We will have tropical storm force winds and rain and storm surge continues to be our main concern with extreme flooding.

The storm's center was about 100 miles (160 km) southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, at 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT) but already some 19,000 homes and businesses in the Carolinas and Virginia were without power by mid-afternoon.

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

Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters said Florence eventually could strike as merely a Category 1 hurricane with winds less than 100 miles per hour, but that's still enough to cause at least $1 billion in damage.

President Donald Trump has declared states of emergency for North and SC and Virginia, and 1.7 million people have been warned to leave.

"Since the track is slower and the storm will reside in the area for a longer period of time rainfall amounts are expected to be extreme", Reid Hawkins, science officer for the National Weather Service office in Wilmington, said in a statement.

"You put your life at risk by staying", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said Thursday. A further 10 million people are now under some form of storm watch.

Storm surge is deadly.

As Hurricane Florence bears down on the North and SC coasts, some residents are ignoring officials' calls to evacuate. "Surge-related flooding can vary greatly over short distances", the advisory said.

The wave action and strong winds of Florence will cause a large amount of water to pile up along the coast of North and SC.

Maryland is not predicted to receive the brunt of the storm. Will the winds be that strong or they'll be stronger when they get here than that? If the storm makes landfall as a Category 2, these winds will be damaging, sustained at up to 160km/h or so with higher gusts.

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