Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Hurricane Florence is a big test for FEMA. Is it ready?

Hurricane Florence is a big test for FEMA. Is it ready?

The Category 4 storm, declared "very dangerous", set to make landfall in North or SC states on Thursday.

Schools in 26 of the state's 46 counties were to close from Tuesday.

Trump has approved emergency declarations for both coastal states, a standard move allowing the release of federal funds and equipment to aid in protection and recovery efforts.

The storm's first effects were already apparent on barrier islands as unsafe rip currents hit beaches and seawater flowed over the road.

The storm's potential path also includes half a dozen nuclear power plants, pits holding coal-ash and other industrial waste, and numerous pig farms that store animal waste in massive open-air lagoons.

Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall on Thursday but swells are already affecting the US East Coat.

Hurricane Florence is packing maximum sustained winds of 140 miles per hour and higher gusts on Tuesday morning.

"While it is too soon to determine the exact timing, location and magnitude of these impacts, interest at the coast and inland from SC into the mid-Atlantic region should closely monitor the progress of Florence", said a NOAA statement.

Forecasts expect 10 to 15 inches (25-38 cm) of rain in the hardest-hit areas, possibly more if the storm stalls over land, as expected, Graham said.

"We are not going to gamble with the lives of the people of South Carolina", McMaster said.

Crystal Kirwan didn't see she had much choice as she got her family ready to leave their home Monday on the coast of North Carolina, with Category 4 Hurricane Florence threatening the state.

Ricky Arnold, an astronaut on the International Space Station, shared his view of the storm along with Hurricane Isaac and Hurricane Helene, which are also brewing in the Atlantic Ocean. Puerto Rico's government raised Hurricane Maria's official death toll to 2,975 last month after maintaining for months that 64 people had died.

Preparations for Florence come as the Atlantic hurricane season hits its peak.

Hurricane Florence has now intensified to category 4, with 130 miles per hour winds.

"Because of the depth and extent of our team's expertise, we can meet the needs of not only Texans, but our fellow citizens in other parts of the country", said Chuck Jones, TX-TF1 Operations Chief. "This is the craziest one". "We certainly understand the need for safety, of course, we just felt that tomorrow, making the decision then, would've been more responsible and accurate".

"I'm telling them to go inland, but I'm anxious about the rain and tornadoes too", Roberts said.

"My people just informed me that this is one of the worst storms to hit the East Coast in many years".

"I think this is very Harvey-esque", said University of Miami hurricane expert Brian McNoldy. "Flooding is the deadliest result of these storms".

During a typical Atlantic hurricane season, the bulk of hurricanes are steered by a high-pressure system that sits around Bermuda.

Only Florence has qualified as a major hurricane. And out here we're so fragile.

Liz Browning Fox was planning to ignore these orders and ride out the storm in the village of Buxton on the North Carolina Outer Banks. "There is no way to be completely safe".

The storm was edging closer to the United States and was 975 miles (1570km) east-south-east of Cape Fear, North Carolina. Eastbound lanes of Interstate 26 heading into Charleston and USA 501 heading into Myrtle Beach will be reversed when the order takes effect. "If you are given an evacuation order, please comply immediately before roads get clogged and chaos commences".

"Let me be clear: North Carolina is taking Hurricane Florence seriously and you should too", Mr Cooper said at a news conference.

SHAPIRO: Wilmington, N.C., is now in Florence's path.

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