Trump declares administration ‘completely ready’ for Hurricane Florence

Florence path

Computer models that have shown it restrengthening and moving into the Gulf are discounted at this time, but the system will have to be watched for the next several days in case it reorganizes.

Hurricane Florence lumbered ashore in North Carolina with howling 90 miles per hour winds and terrifying storm surge early Friday, ripping apart buildings and knocking out power to a half-million homes and businesses as it settled in for what could be a long and extraordinarily destructive drenching.

The Carolina coasts can expect winds topping 80 miles per hour late Thursday afternoon. Storm surge warnings, hurricane warnings, and tropical storm warnings are in effect along the coast of the Carolinas.

Nearly 160,000 customers already were without power in North Carolina Thursday evening - and that number is likely to rise.

As of 5 a.m. EDT it was centered about 205 miles (325 kilometers) east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 250 miles (450 kilometers) east-southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, moving northwest at 15 mph (24 kph).

While the storm's winds will abate as it moves inland, they could continue to gust to tropical-storm-force - especially near its core.

And now, many more people, houses and buildings are set to endure hurricane-force winds, which extend 80 miles out from the center of Florence.

As of 8 a.m., the hurricane is predicted to make landfall along the coast of the Carolinas tomorrow (Sept. 14), according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Hurricane Center. Storm surge of 13 feet on top of a high tide at 7 feet could overwhelm Carolina Beach.

The result: catastrophic inland flooding that could swamp homes, businesses, farm fields and industrial sites. Ten million people are now under some kind of weather advisory.

Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters said Florence eventually could strike as a Category 1 with winds less than 160 kmh, but that's still enough to cause at least US$1 billion in damage.

Hurricane Florence made landfall in Wilmington Friday morning as a Category 1 storm.

"Get out of its way, don't play games with it", said Mr Trump. "It's a big one".

Its unclear exactly how many people fled, but more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out. Airlines cancelled almost 1000 flights and counting. Home Depot and Lowes activated emergency response centers to get generators, trash bags and bottled water to stores before and after the storm. The two hardware chains said they sent in a total of around 1100 trucks.

Duke Energy Co. said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks.

Isaac Ginis, a hurricane expert at the University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of Oceanography, said that with rising temperatures, hurricanes are likely to become more intense, bring more rain and pose more risks to coastal areas from higher seas and bigger storm surges and waves.

Boarding up his home in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Chris Pennington watched the forecasts and tried to decide when to leave.

It's also notable that there are three hurricanes, including Florence, lined up in the Atlantic at the same time.

About 10 million people could be affected by the storm and more than 1 million were ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia.

The US President tweeted: "Hurricane Florence may now be dipping a bit south and hitting a portion of the Great State of Georgia".

Marge Brown, 65, says goodbye to her father, George Brown, 90, before he is evacuated from a healthcare home in Morehead City, N.C., September 12, 2018, as Hurricane Florence approaches the east coast. Unsure of what they might find when they return home, the couple went shopping for a recreational vehicle.

He said if something catastrophic happens to his home, he plans to make his way to a neighbor's house.

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