Nearing landfall, huge Hurricane Florence threatens to dump historic rainfall

Trump declares administration ‘completely ready’ for Hurricane Florence | TheHill

Unfortunately, Hurricane Florence is expected to bring huge risks of inland flooding. "It's a big one", he said at the White House.

Florence's top winds were clocked on Thursday at 100 miles per hour (170 km per hour) as it churned in the Atlantic Ocean, down from a peak of 140 mph (224 kph) earlier this week when it was classified a Category 4 storm. The trend is "exceptionally bad news", said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy, since it "smears a landfall out over hundreds of miles of coastline, most notably the storm surge". In a series of tweets Wednesday morning, Trump said the government "got A Pluses" for storm recovery in Texas and Florida and "did an unappreciated great job in Puerto Rico". That same area experienced unsafe flooding after Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

The outer bands of Hurricane Florence have reached Wilmington, with weather officials saying the storm will bring unprecedented rain to the region. "Catastrophic effects will be felt outside the center of the storm".

The storm will slow down because of pushback from a trough - an extended area of low atmospheric pressure - now over Texas, Stacy Stewart, an NHC senior hurricane specialist, said in the update.

Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters said Florence eventually could strike as merely a Category 1 hurricane with winds less than 100 miles per hour (160 kph), but that's still enough to cause at least $1 billion in damage. That leaves the "spinning wheel" at the hurricane's core stranded, "and it'll just sit there until the weather pattern changes", he said.

"Your time is running out", he said. And if local officials recommend evacuation, evacuate immediately. Soil can become so saturated with all the rain from the hurricane that flooding can still occur, Camp said. "This is a life-and-death situation". Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the governors of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Maryland have declared states of emergency.

"We live in a mobile home so we were just like 'No way, '" she said.

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"The storm surge. This is the most risky part of the storm", said NBC News forecaster Al Roker, "Do not pay attention to the category". It caused 117 fatalities and cost the USA $17 billion.

SC ordered the mandatory evacuation of one million coastal residents while North Carolina ordered an evacuation of the Outer Banks, barrier islands that are a popular tourist destination.

Boarding up his home in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Chris Pennington monitored the forecasts and tried to decide when to leave. "It's been an ordeal but we're coming through this fairly well", Arakawa said at a news conference.

"If you have not left now, you need to leave", McMaster said.

"This is not going to be a glancing blow", Byard said, warning of power outages, road closures, infrastructure damage and potential loss of life.

An onlooker checks out the heavy surf at the Avalon Fishing Pier in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina on Sep 13, 2018 as Hurricane Florence approaches the east coast. But when it comes to water, the maximum wind speed matters less than the size of the wind field for both storm surge and the destructive power of waves moving onshore.

The storm's possible track now bends farther to the SW and closer to cities like Jacksonville, but it's the delay and the possible repeat of a Harvey-like storm cycle that has officials and weather forecasters anxious.

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