Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
Science | By Celia Watts

'Harvey of the East Coast:' Florence's worst impact could be catastrophic flooding

'Harvey of the East Coast:' Florence's worst impact could be catastrophic flooding

Florence's storm surge threatens more than 750,000 homes in the region, according to the property analytics firm CoreLogic.

With "monumental" rainfall totals of up to 40 inches possible, "the rain from Florence may break all-time state records for rainfall from a hurricane or tropical storm", Weather Underground meteorologist Jeff Masters said.

As he issued a mandatory evacuation order for the coastal region Monday afternoon, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster didn't mince words.

- Winds could exceed 80 miles per hour from Thursday to Saturday.

The monster storm was upgraded to an "extremely dangerous" Category 4 by the National Hurricane Centre yesterday but is predicted to approach the most-damaging Category 5 status.

"In response to the impending arrival of Hurricane Florence, the Coastal Carolina home football game versus Campbell originally scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 15, in Conway, S.C., has been rescheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 12, at 2 p.m. ET at Barker-Lane Stadium in Buies Creek, N.C.", said Coastal Carolina's release on Monday. The middle of the cone shows Florence coming ashore around Topsail Island - a slightly southern tweak from earlier projections.

Mr Graham warned that the "staggering" size of the storm means its impacts will be felt far and wide. "Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion".

Its expected sluggishness is becoming more common, possibly a result of climate change, said National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration climate scientist and hurricane expert Jim Kossin.

The governors of South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia have declared emergencies.

The United States was hit with a series of high-powered hurricanes previous year, including Hurricane Maria, which killed some 3,000 people in Puerto Rico, and Hurricane Harvey, which killed about 68 people and caused an estimated $1.25 billion in damage with catastrophic flooding in Houston. Now, Hurricane Florence threatens to make it three out of four years that a major storm dropped heavy rains and flooded farms and fields with potentially season-ending devastation. "Any amounts of money, whatever it takes, we're going to do it".

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper on September 10 urged North Carolina residents, businesses and visitors not to delay preparations and to follow evacuation orders.

"The time to hope Hurricane Florence away is gone".

Duke coach David Cutcliffe says the team will leave Durham on Thursday instead of its typical Friday departure because it's "our best opportunity to get out".

"This is going to produce heavy rainfall, and it may not move very fast". "It's weakened, but unfortunately, the eye has expanded out to a diameter now of about 30-35 nautical miles". It was a potentially catastrophic Category 4 storm but was expected to keep drawing energy from the warm water and intensify to near Category 5, which means winds of 157 miles per hour (253 kph) or higher.

However, Hubbard said Florence is not expected to have any impact on Canada, given its predicted track into the US mainland, where it will likely weaken considerably on the weekend.

In addition to Florence, the Atlantic Ocean now has two other strong storms.

With the remnants of one tropical storm already dumping rain across Atlantic Canada on Tuesday, residents were keeping a close watch on three other storms churning their way across the Atlantic.

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