Georgia declares state of emergency for all counties ahead of Hurricane Florence

Audrey Hill
October 10, 2018

A hurricane warning - meaning hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours - is in effect for a long stretch of the coast, from the South Santee River in SC to Duck, N.C., which is part of the Outer Banks.

Highways clogged with people fleeing North and SC early Wednesday as monstrous Category 4 Hurricane Florence rumbled toward the eastern USA as the biggest storm there in decades.

"This is historic. This storm is big and it's vicious", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said. "If you are on the coast, there is still time to get out safely".

With the storm not making landfall until at least Friday, residents have more time to evacuate and prepare.

"Hurricane Florence is the strongest storm to target the Carolinas and this part of our country in decades". The wind speed will start to pick up and rain will start to fall, worsening into the evening.

As of Wednesday morning, Hurricane Florence was located approximately 530 miles southeast of North Carolina's Cape Fear, moving west northwest at 17 miles per hour.

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) — 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.

The culprit, according to the National Hurricane Center, is a developing pressure ridge that will slow Florence down near landfall and after landfall and push the storm as it downgrades into a tropical storm and then a tropical depression inland down through SC and into Georgia Saturday, Sunday and early Monday.

The damage occurred even though Sandy spun ashore as the equivalent of only a Category 1 hurricane, with winds of about 80 miles per hour, and was downgraded below hurricane status shortly thereafter.

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National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham says damaging winds and rain could begin hitting the coast late Thursday, pushing a storm surge that could reach 13 feet in places.

Chris and Nicole Roland walk down an empty North Myrtle Beach in SC on Wednesday.

A tropical storm warning, indicating the expectation of conditions below hurricane-strength winds, is issued for coastal areas north of the Virginia border to Cape Charles Light, Va., and in Chesapeake Bay, south of New Point Comfort, Va. In North Carolina, Cooper says, "2,800 soldiers will be on active duty, joined by even more on standby".

In Charleston, S.C., the local government said that after giving out 53,000 sandbags, "there is no longer any sand available at any city of Charleston location". Home Depot and Lowe's activated emergency response centers to get generators, trash bags and bottled water to stores before and after the storm. Thinking of the outages likely to come it also warns to use grills and generators outside - away from doors and windows. As of Saturday, about 676,000 homes and businesses were without power in North Carolina, along with 119,000 in SC. Florence is now heading for ocean water with surface temperatures of around 85 degrees, meaning it will likely strengthen on its way to the East Coast.

Satellite images show the storm has maintained a distinct eye, and it's well organized.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Florence is a powerful Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds of about 125mph as it continued on its path toward the Carolinas Wednesday.

If the forecast holds, Hurricane Florence will become the highest north on the East Coast that a Category 4 hurricane has ever made landfall.

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

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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