Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Oklahoma search and rescue helicopter team leaves for Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence is gaining strength as it moves west Image Hurricane Florence is gaining strength as it moves west
Doris Mccormick | 15 September, 2018, 17:55

Beach communities in North and SC emptied out on Wednesday as Hurricane Florence threatened to unleash pounding surf and potentially deadly flooding as the most powerful storm to make a direct hit on the states in decades.

As of 2 p.m. Wednesday, the Category 4 storm was about 435 miles southeast of Wilmington, N.C., and moving northwest at about 16 mph.

Hurricane Florence's leading edge battered the Carolina coast on Thursday, as the hulking storm closed in with 105 miles per hour winds for a drenching siege that could last all weekend.

The NHC said the first tropical storm-force winds of at least 63 kph would hit the region early on Thursday with the storm's centre reaching the coast Friday. "Even if you've ridden out storms before, this one is different.

It's chilling, even from space", said Alexander Gerst, an astronaut with the European Space Agency who now lives on ISS, on Twitter.

The South Carolina Department of Corrections' Palmer Pre Release Center a Level 1 Minimum Custody Prison in Florence, South Carolina, was evacuated in advance of Hurricane Florence due to security reasons.

Up to 1.7 million people are under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders, and coastal residents were frantically boarding up homes and businesses and hitting the road on Wednesday as the storm approached.

The latest forecasts show the storm lingering near the coast and bringing intense inland flooding from SC, where some areas could see as much as 40 inches (1m) of rain, to Virginia.

A view of Hurricane Florence from the International Space Station. All three states ordered mass evacuations along the coast.

Met Service issues severe weather alert for all parishes Sunday to Monday
Forecasters say Hurricane Florence is expected to steadily slow down as it makes its way toward the East Coast. That's out in open ocean, where waves are much larger than those reaching the coast as storm surge .


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Mother and infant are first Hurricane Florence fatalities
The outer bands of Hurricane Florence began battering the coast of North and South Carolina Thursday with strong winds and rain. A state of emergency has been declared in five coastal states - North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland and Virginia.


Then, as the high-pressure system steering Florence weakens, the hurricane is expected to hang out inland for days, showering the region with rain much like Hurricane Harvey did to Houston previous year. Now hurricane "Florence" waiting in Washington, where he also declared a state of emergency.

After landfall, Florence slowed to a pace that would see the system likely lingering for days.

Almost 1000 prisoners in SC will not be moved from their cells, despite a mandatory evacuation order in the area.

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.

The NHC said Helene was weakening, however, and posed no danger to land. "In light of the storm's forecasted southward track after making landfall, I encourage Georgians to be prepared for the inland effects of the storm as well as the ensuing storm surge in coastal areas".

Officials in New Bern, which dates to the early 18th century, said more than 100 people were rescued from floods and the downtown was under water by Friday afternoon.

At the White House, President Donald Trump both touted the government's readiness and urged people to get out of the way of Florence.

"This rainfall would produce catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding", the NHC said.

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