With shelters open, and emergency responders from many states heading in as North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia residents flee, it’s just hours to go before Hurricane Florence makes landfall.
The stage is set for incredible storm surge, flooding and rescues for people that are sheltering in place despite warnings from FEMA, governors and mayors.
The first thing to know about Hurricane Florence is she has a 500-mile wingspan, by several estimates:
Watch out, America! #HurricaneFlorence is so enormous, we could only capture her with a super wide-angle lens from the @Space_Station, 400 km directly above the eye. Get prepared on the East Coast, this is a no-kidding nightmare coming for you. #Horizons pic.twitter.com/ovZozsncfh
— Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) September 12, 2018
Hurricane Florence is a Category Four storm with winds estimated at more than 130 mph, and a range estimated between 70 – 175 mph, according to the 1100 AM Hurricane Florence Advisory on the National Hurricane Center (NHC) website.
Editor’s Note September 13, 2018: Hurricane Florence was downgraded to a Category Two storm — based on decreasing wind velocity measurements — but storm surge and flooding threats are unchanged, according to the Raleigh, North Carolina ABC affiliate.
The storm is moving at a rate of about 15 mph, according to the Air Force aircraft data used for the NHC report cited at press time.
Storm surge is currently projected highest from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout, North Carolina, to upwards of 13 feet with isolated rainfall in some North Carolina counties up to 40 inches.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has ordered the mandatory evacuation of 1 million people, according to CNN. Six counties are under mandatory evacuation along with low lying areas in five additional counties, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety website. Numerous shelters are open or opening.
Governor Cooper wants those in mandatory evacuation zones to leave ASAP:
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster also announced a mandatory evacuation of eight coastal counties, including 177 hospitals and medical facilities, with school closures in 26 counties and reversed travel on four major roads, according to The State. More than 700,000 residents are under orders to evacuate. The state’s Emergency Management Division reported that 28 shelters would open across the state, capable of housing about 25,000 people.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam ordered the mandatory evacuation of about 245,000 residents in the Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore coastal regions, according to CNN.
Federal assistance to supplement state, tribal and local response has been ordered for 3 states (North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia), according to WhiteHouse.gov.