Hurricane Florence's uncertain track sows fear; 10 million in crosshairs

Terry Joseph
September 16, 2018

Despite the downgrade, Florence is expected to produce catastrophic flooding throughout the Carolinas.

Storm surge flooding does not include floods caused by the heavy rain from the hurricane, such as what happened past year in Houston with Hurricane Harvey and in North Carolina in 2016 during Hurricane Matthew.

"Typically, we see a stimulus effect that creates jobs and raises incomes for South Carolinians", said Joseph Von Nessen, a research economist at the University of SC.

The slow-moving storm is expected to bring hurricane winds to America's east coast within 24 hours.

The "threat of freshwater flooding will increase over the next several days" in the impacted areas.

The city of Florence, about 70 miles northwest of Myrtle Beach, could absorb 70-to-110 mph winds and 3 to 6 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service.

With flood waters rising rapidly in many communities, people trapped in homes awaited rescue, while tens of thousands hunkered down in shelters after fleeing their homes as the storm approached.

The National Hurricane Center said the storm would dump as much as 30 to 40 inches (76-102 cm) of rain on the southeastern coast of North Carolina and part of northeastern SC, as well as up to 10 inches (25 cm) in southwestern Virginia. "Florence will then recurve across the western Carolinas and the central Appalachian Mountains early next week".

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This image provided by NASA shows Hurricane Florence from the International Space Station on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, as it threatens the U.S. East Coast. But it could have been worse: Labor Day marked the end of the peak tourism season in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and other coastal getaways. And the more it hovers just off shore - a distinct possibility - the more potentially deadly storm surge it pushes on-shore.

More than 20,000 people were in 157 shelters in North Carolina, with 7,000 more in SC shelters.

"There is going to be a lot of rain". Roper St. Francis spokesman Brian DeRoy said all of their major facilities will be open during the storm, but they ask patients with procedures scheduled to call and confirm. "Our meteorologists are saying that the rainfall amounts will be devastating in certain areas", he said.

And Florence will nearly surely depress auto production in SC, where Volvo already has closed a new factory near Charleston because it's in an area under mandatory evacuation orders, said spokesman Russell Datz.

Airlines had cancelled almost 1,000 flights and counting.

Hurricane Florence put a corridor of more than 10 million people in the crosshairs Wednesday as the monster storm closed in on the Carolinas, uncertainty over its projected path spreading worry across a widening swath of the Southeast.

A long stretch of the U.S. Eastern Seaboard remained vulnerable to hurricane and tropical storm conditions, from Georgia north through the Carolinas into Virginia. President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency on the federal level Tuesday for the Carolinas and Virginia.

About 10 million people could be affected by the storm, and more than one million were ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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