Carolinas brace for the worst as monstrous Hurricane Florence nears

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Florence exploded into a potentially catastrophic hurricane Monday as it closed in on North and SC, carrying winds up to 140 miles per hour (220 kph) and water that could wreak havoc over a wide stretch of the eastern United States later this week.

Panovich: Right now it looks like landfall is going to occur sometime early Friday morning between, I would say, 4 a.m. and probably about 8 a.m., but it might actually never make it all the way in.

The National Hurricane Center is warning of a potentially deadly landfall for the massive storm, which has resulted in evacuation orders for more than 1.5 million people along the East Coast.

"Hurricane Florence is rapidly approaching the coastline and we wanted to preemptively offer disaster relief for those who stand to be impacted by the storm", Mack said in a statement to HuffPost.

The storm will also have stronger winds than Hugo did if Florence strengthens as predicted.

Mack said U-Haul has been inspecting its facilities over the last week to make sure they are "clean, dry and secure".

The storm strengthened from 130 miles per hour to 140 miles per hour and is Category 4, the NHC said. "As a strong member of these communities, we are in the position to offer this service to our friends who are in harm's way".

In a video message on Wednesday, President Trump said that people shouldn't "play games" with the storm and that the federal government is ready to assist.

Heavy rain may extend as far inland as Charlotte, North Carolina's largest city, though the severity will depend on the storm's track, according to The Charlotte Observer.

As well, Global Affairs said Wednesday Canadians should avoid travelling to parts of the Caribbean, including Dominica, Guadeloupe and Martinique, because tropical storm Isaac is headed in that direction.

One woman told MSNBC she would be staying at home in Wilmington, NC with her two children despite the storm.

"Life-threatening storm surge is forecast along the South Carolina, North Carolina and Southeast Virginia coasts Thursday and Friday", announced Governor Henry McMaster - (R) South Carolina.

"It's likely we'll get significant flooding and high winds", he said.

"Been through it!" Belli said, referring to Hurricane Hugo, which caused widespread damage in SC in 1989.

"Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion", the agency says. As Florence bounces along the southeastern coastal states, rain totals are expected to rise.

"It's going to be bad", said Woody White, chairman of the New Hanover County Commissioners.

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

"A lot of our storefronts are boarded up", said Lynn Davis, town manager for Belhaven which sits at sea level in northeastern North Carolina.

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