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Published On: Mon, Sep 10th, 2018

Carolina coast braces for Hurricane Florence as evacuation orders go into effect, Roy Cooper issues statement

This morning Hurricane Florence’s top winds reached 115 miles (185 kilometers) per hour, strengthening to Category 3 status as it pushed westward toward the U.S. East Coast. A new update already has the storm at 130 MPH, a Category 4.

The storm is a major threat to homes, agriculture and the waning tourist season. It’s currently about 580 miles southeast of Bermuda, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in an 11 a.m. New York time advisory.

The prediction has landfall Friday between Charleston, South Carolina and Norfolk, Virginia, as Phil Klotzbach, a Colorado State University hurricane researcher warns Florence will be one of just three storms in the records to have winds of 150 miles-per-hour this far north.

“The track that Florence is taking is very atypical,” Klotzbach said in an email. “There’s just a really strong ridge building over the top of Florence that is going to drive it westward and also give it a remarkably favorable environment for strengthening.”

Hurricane Florence photo/ NASA

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said he had asked President Trump for a federal disaster declaration ahead of the storm.

“We here in North Carolina are bracing for a hart hit,” Cooper said Monday. “We are taking Hurricane Florence seriously.”

Dare County officials ordered everyone to leave Hatteras Island on Monday. Residents and visitors in popular tourist spots such as Duck and Corolla faced a Tuesday deadline.

“Everyone in Dare County is encouraged to evacuate as soon as possible regardless of the established time frames,” the county announced.

“Red, no swimming flags are flying and everyone must stay out of the water,” Dare County Emergency Management Director Drew Pearson said.
AccuWeather meteorologist Brett Rossi said the ground in North and South Carolina and Virginia is already saturated from recent rains. Rivers are high, and the storm will be moving slowly when it arrives, exacerbating the situation, Rossi told USA TODAY.

“This is very scary rain event potentially setting up this week,” Rossi said. “Florence could dump a foot of rain in places that cannot handle it, making for a very scary flooding situation in some areas.”

“Everyone in North Carolina needs to keep a close eye on Florence and take steps now to get ready for impacts later this week,” Gov. Cooper said Sunday, calling for people to prepare. “State emergency management, transportation, health experts and others are making sure North Carolina is prepared for the storm, and I urge the public to review your emergency plans and gather your supplies now.”

“The State Emergency Response Team, which includes Emergency Management, the State Highway Patrol and the NC National Guard, is closely monitoring the storm and stands ready to deploy,” Public Safety Secretary Erik A. Hooks said. “Our highly trained and experienced team has already been evaluating its resources and preparing to assist the public as needed.”

“We are getting updates from the National Hurricane Center and FEMA as well as our other partners and drawing on everyone’s experience to plan and prepare to respond to any need,” state Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry stated. “We are also staying in close contact with county and SERT partners to ensure all resource requests are met. We ask the public to stay tuned to your local forecast and listen to your local emergency officials. Make sure you have a plan for yourself and your family members, to include your pets.”

About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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