Hurricane Florence: Warnings of life-threatening surge

Mandatory evacuations issued for Outer Banks ahead of Florence

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) says it expects the storm to make landfall in North Carolina or SC late Thursday into Friday as "an extremely risky major hurricane".

The approach of Hurricane Florence has sparked mandatory evacuations for parts of the Carolinas and Virginia, where the center of the Category 4 storm is expected to arrive on Thursday.

The storm weakened slightly and has 130 miles per hour winds, but it is still a major Category 4 hurricane, according to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

A state of emergency has been declared in both North and SC.

Florence's centre was expected to move over the Atlantic Ocean between the Bahamas and Bermuda on Tuesday and Wednesday before approaching North and SC on Thursday.

On Tuesday, Washington D.C.'s mayor, Muriel Bowser, declared a state of emergency in the District ahead of the hurricane, effective immediately. Its centre will move between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday and approach the coast of SC or North Carolina on Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said.

Travelers are bracing for a rough ride as Hurricane Florence barrels toward the East Coast, with the storm expected to snarl roadways, air and rail travel as early as Thursday and disruptions forecast to persist through the weekend.

Regarding the Bahamas, the American meteorologist said Hurricane Florence is going to take a track that will keep it east and northeast of the country.

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U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Roger Hannah said all nuclear power plants in the area were preparing but that Duke Energy Corp's Brunswick and Harris plants in North Carolina were most likely to be affected and, if Florence turns north, Dominion Energy Inc's Surry plant in Virginia. But more than 10 inches is forecast for a larger area, including most of eastern North Carolina inland to just north of Richmond, Virginia.

"I'm telling them to go inland, but I'm anxious about the rain and tornadoes too", Roberts said.

Ahead of Florence's arrival, barrier islands were already seeing unsafe rip currents and seawater flowed over a state highway, the harbinger of a storm surge that could wipe out dunes and submerge entire communities.

A big worry with Florence is that the system could linger for days, similar to the manner in whch Harvey hovered over Texas previous year. As Axios noted, many areas in the path of the storm have not seen hurricanes of this strength for decades-like Charleston, South Carolina, where the last Category 4 storm was Hugo in 1989. Seven-day rainfall totals are forecast to reach 25 to 50 centimetres over much of North Carolina and Virginia, and even 75 centimetres in some places.

Liz Browning Fox was planning to ride out the storm on the Outer Banks, defying evacuation orders.

Wilson County is under a Tropical Storm Watch and could receive anywhere from 8 to 12 inches of rain, Sharp said, with 15 to 16 inches possible in areas. Upon immediate landfall, the threats are you standard hurricane threats - storm surge, strong winds, tornadoes.

"You are talking about the entire ocean level rising up as a storm of this size makes landfall", Barnes said.

Anything special about Hurricane Florence?

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