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

Mass evacuations ordered as Hurricane Florence approaches US

Mass evacuations ordered as Hurricane Florence approaches US

Hurricane Florence could dump more rain on the state than Hugo because it's expected to stop over SC for several days, and could move across the SC coastline.

"Please be prepared, be careful and be SAFE", he wrote.

David Fountain, president of Duke Energy North Carolina, emphasized the potential implications of hurricane, which is now a category 4. "If you are in one of the evacuation zones, you need to leave now".

Parts of Virginia, North Carolina, and SC have issued mandatory evacuation orders, and governors of all three states as well as Maryland have declared states of emergency in the run-up to Florence making landfall. President Trump has declared an emergency in the three states and says the government is "as ready as anybody has ever been".

Florence weakened slightly to a Category 3 storm on a five-step scale but had maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour (201 km per hour) as of 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT), down from 130 mph earlier in the day.

"Protection of life is the absolute highest priority", he added.

Updated NHC forecasts showed the storm lingering near the coast of the Carolinas, carrying days of heavy rains that could bring intense inland flooding from SC to Virginia.

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.


Forecasters expected some strengthening in the next 36 hours, as Florence marched west-northwest at 20kmh.

People fleeing coastal North and SC clogged highways Wednesday as Florence bore down on the coast for a direct hit in a low-lying region dense with beachfront vacation homes. "It's going to happen".

"We're just trying to plan for the future here, not having a house for an extended period of time", David Garrigus said.

Officials in New Hanover County, which includes Wilmington, have stockpiled enough food and water for 60,000 people for four days, along with more than 28,000 tarps.

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

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

On its current track, Florence is expected to hit the Carolinas and Virginia the hardest, the NHC said.

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