Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

Hurricane Florence latest forecast could still mean tropical impacts for Middle Georgia

Marshall vs. South Carolina game cancelled due to Hurricane Florence Some steadfast residents to stay put as Hurricane Florence approaches
Sandy Nunez | 14 September, 2018, 10:25

An updated track at 5 a.m. Wednesday update shows the storm changing course and moving more into SC after the hurricane would make landfall.

By 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday, the storm was about 335 miles southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina.

A life-threatening storm surge is now highly likely along portions of the coastlines of SC and North Carolina, and a storm surge warning is in effect for a portion of this area.

Hurricane Florence, once rumored to strike as a Category-5 storm, will strike with less powerful wind, but it will drop much more rain on the area than initially expected.

Florence was earlier downgraded from Category 4 to 3 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of wind strength.

Although its peak winds diminished, forecasters said the storm's total energy grew as its inner core and outlying bands of wind expanded. The Wilmington area can now expect 9-to-13-foot storm surges if Florence's peak impact coincides with high tide, Brunswick County coastal areas west of Southport can expect 6-to-9-foot surges.

But North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper warned: "Don't relax, don't get complacent". "Disaster is at the doorstep and is coming in", he said in a tweet.

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Rainfall from the storm is predicted to be between two and four inches in Chatham County.

Downpours and flooding would be especially severe, lasting for days, if the storm stalls over land. Heavy rains were forecast to extend into the Appalachians, affecting parts of Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia. "This is going to be a Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast".

South Carolina, western and northern North Carolina...5 to 10 inches, isolated 20 inches.

At least 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia have been warned to evacuate, and others are hunkering down. Authorities in Chatham County, Georgia, which borders SC and includes the historic port city of Savannah, urged residents who feel unsafe "to evacuate as they see fit". Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles (130 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles (315 kilometers).

When it comes to floods, extreme caution has been advised by state and local officials: just several inches of running floodwater can knock a full-grown person off their feet, and just a foot of running water can sweep a medium-sized passenger auto off the road.

On the forecast track, the center of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas today, and approach the coast of North Carolina or SC in the hurricane warning area on Thursday and Friday and move slowly near the coastline through Saturday.

At Nags Head on North Carolina's Hatteras Island, only a few people remained to take photos of angry waves topped with white froth. A NOAA buoy located about 100 miles northeast of Florence's eye recently reported a sustained wind of 53 mph (85 km/h) and a gust to 74 mph (119 km/h).