Florence becomes a hurricane, takes aim at US Southeast

Glen Norman
September 10, 2018

"Pretend, assume, presume that a major hurricane is going to hit right smack dab in the middle of SC". South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster emphasized that there's no way to know yet when and where the storm will hit land, or when evacuations might be called. That means filling prescriptions, planning a route, notifying relatives and emergency contacts of where you're headed, making plans for pets, boarding up properties and stocking up on provisions. This flooding can persist for several days after a storm has dissipated. "So be prepared. Be ready".

The storm became a hurricane Sunday and is expected to strengthen rapidly over the next few days as it heads toward the East Coast of the U.S. McMaster on Sunday predicted Florence will likely deliver "a strong hit on SC", though he cautioned that it's still uncertain how bad the Palmetto State will be affected.

South Carolina's governor says residents should count on "a lot of wind and a lot of rain" from Hurricane Florence this week. Winds in Hugo topped out at 135 miles per hour and the storm caused $7 billion in damage.

In a press conference Sunday, McMaster said he had submitted a request to President Trump that a federal emergency declaration be made. A Category 4 storm packs winds of 130 miles per hour (209 kph) or more and has the potential for catastrophic damage.

Major Gen. Robert E. Livingston Jr., who serves as the head of the Military Department of the state of SC, said more than 800 National Guardsmen have been activated and will be on active duty Monday. Another 285 guardsmen and 1,617 S.C. law enforcement officers are ready for deployment to the coast, state officials said.

A BWS spokesman said: “Bermuda should remain outside the radius of tropical storm force winds and the only significant impact is expected to be rough to very rough southeasterly swells which could create hazardous rip currents, especially along the South Shore.”.

The chances that Fayetteville and southeastern NC could be spared from hurricane-force winds and serious flooding appear to be diminishing, as the latest update Sunday morning projects the storm could hit the Carolinas by late in the week.

In Charleston, South Carolina, along the coast, city officials offered sandbags to residents.

The news release notes that plans could change if forecasts indicate a decrease in the strength or change in the track of the storm. It also posted photos showing heavy flooding from previous storms.

A state of emergency has been sounded in Virginia and North and SC as Florence, a Category 1 hurricane which is turning into a unsafe storm, is expected to make landfall this week in the southeastern coast of the United States, the US National Hurricane Center said in its latest advisory on Sunday. Gov. Ralph Northam said the Virginia National Guard, the Virginia State Police and other state agencies have already begun preparations.

The governors of North and SC also declared states of emergency to give them time to prepare. The Emergency Management Division has a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being a normal day and 1 being an ongoing disaster.

A photo taken from the International Space Station by astronaut Ricky Arnold shows Hurricane Florence over the Atlantic Ocean in the early morning hours of September 6, 2018.

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