North Carolina residents stocked up on supplies and braced for severe conditions as Hurricane Florence exploded into a potentially catastrophic Category 4 storm. At a Lowes near Raleigh, some waited hours for a truck carrying generators. (Sept. 11)
The most devastating effects of Hurricane Florence will be in the Carolinas and Virginia, though surrounding states will also see some effects from the powerful storm, which is expected to make landfall late Thursday or early Friday. Here’s a state-by-state forecast:
The full fury of Florence should land in North Carolina, where hundreds of thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate.
“Significant impacts are expected from Florence, including storm surge, extreme winds, possible tornadoes and exceptional amounts of rain, which will likely cause flash flooding and eventually serious river flooding,” the National Weather Service in Newport, North Carolina, said.
Initially, there will howling winds of up to 120 mph near where the storm comes ashore, and structural damage to homes and buildings is possible.
Rainfall totals of up to 30 inches are possible across eastern North Carolina, which would lead to widespread, “catastrophic flooding.” Cities such as Wilmington, Raleigh and Fayetteville are all in the crosshairs for devastating floods.
“This storm looks like it’s going to stall over the region and potentially bring tremendous, life-threatening flooding,” AccuWeather meteorologist Marshall Moss said.
In addition, destructive, life-threatening ocean waves will roar ashore as the hurricane’s eye makes landfall. Up to 12 feet of surge could inundate coastal areas from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout. The worst of this surge will be to the north or northeast of where the center comes ashore, the Weather Channel said.
Although the absolute worst conditions will be in North Carolina, its sister state to the south won’t be spared: Coastal areas from Myrtle Beach to Charleston will see a storm surge of up to 6 feet.
Floods from relentless rain will be the primary concern in the Palmetto State. “The main life-threatening risk may be a prolonged heavy rainfall event with associated flooding,” the weather service in Columbia, South Carolina, said.
Along the coast of South Carolina, based on the latest track from the National Hurricane Center, strong rip currents, rough surf conditions, coastal flooding and some degree of beach erosion are all possible, the Charleston weather service office said.
Even if Virginia does not take a direct hit from Florence, heavy rain and flooding remain a real threat. In southeastern Virginia, including the Richmond and Norfolk metro areas, “life-threatening, if not historic rainfall totals” are possible during the Friday-Saturday time frame, the weather service in Wakefield, Virginia, warned.
Maryland, Delaware, Washington, D.C.
Specific repercussions from Florence this far from landfall are still uncertain. Portions of Maryland and Delaware may be on the edge of the excessive rainfall area.
“With uncertainty remaining around the exact track of Florence after landfall, it is a bit early to highlight a specific area for heavy rain potential,” the weather service in Washington, D.C., said. “However, the threat for significant rainfall and flooding is there for the weekend into early next week.”
Although the forecast in the Mountain State is also much less certain this far inland and this far ahead of the storm, “significant rainfall” is possible early next week in West Virginia, the National Weather Service said.
The state’s mountainous terrain is always a concern when rain is in the forecast. “There could be devastating floods well in from the coast back in the hills and mountains of West Virginia,” AccuWeather’s president Joel Myers warned.
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