Hurricane Florence weakens to Category 2 as storm takes aim at Southeast

Grist  NOAA

More than 1.5 million peoplehave been told to evacuate Virginia and the Carolinas ahead of the expected landfall of Hurricane Florence, which has strengthened to a category 4 event that the National Weather Service has said is "the storm of a lifetime" and Roy Cooper, North Carolina governor, more bluntly called "a monster".

You may have heard about Hurricane Florence, the storm careering towards the U.S. east coast prompting warnings of an impending disaster.

The Atlantic hurricane is located about 280 miles (450 kilometers) east-southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, packing maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour (175 km/h), the NHC said.

The worst case scenario would be if Florence comes ashore at Wilmington, North Carolina, and moves north through the three state's biggest cities: Raleigh, Greensboro and Charlotte, David Fountain, Duke Energy's president for North Carolina, said Wednesday.

Florence is forecast to dump up to 40 inches of rain in some areas after it makes landfall in North and SC.

It's unclear exactly how many people fled, but more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out. "You will have a compounding effect of storm surge and the waves that will probably be quite devastating to the coastal communities", Ginis said. Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storms aftermath, it said.

People fleeing coastal North and SC clogged highways Wednesday as Florence bore down for a direct hit in the low-lying region dense with beachfront vacation homes.

According to a report from Bloomberg, as many as 3 million homes and businesses in the Carolinas may lose power if Hurricane Florence hits the largest urban areas.

"In 12 or 18 hours, they may be saying different things all over again", he said.

Masters said there's a tug-of-war between two clear skies high pressure systems - one off the coast and one over MI - and the more the Great Lakes one wins, the more southerly Florence will be.

More news: New Map Shows Which US States Have The Highest Obesity Rates

Though many models differ on the storm's path after it passes over the Carolinas, Sullivan says a lot of them show the storm impacting Eastern Kentucky.

They advise people in this area to prepare for the storm and listen to local officials.

"I'm lucky to be here today, but wherever they're going to send me I'm going".

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

Melody Rawson evacuated her first-floor apartment in Myrtle Beach and arrived at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia, to camp for free with three other adults, her disabled son, two dogs and a pet bird.

"It doesn't matter how much money you have or how many generators you have if you can't get gas", she said.

President Donald Trump has states of emergency for North and SC along with Virginia.

Forecasters anxious the storm's damage will be all the worse if it lingers on the coast.

But while many coastal residents have complied with mandatory evacuation orders, others are boarding up their homes and vowing to ride out the storm. "Also, a little creepy".

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