Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

U.S. airlines cancel more than 1000 flights ahead of Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence impacting flights along East Coast Hurricane Florence impacting flights along East Coast There may be more flights canceled as Hurricane Florence gets closer to the East Coast
Cassandra Gardner | 14 September, 2018, 03:46

But last year's Hurricane Harvey demonstrated that tremendous damage can be dealt when a storm system sits in place and dumps huge amounts of rain.

Measurements by an Air Force Hurricane Hunter plane indicate that maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 110 miles per hour, with higher gusts. Here's why this storm threatens not only the coast but millions of people inland.

The East Coast isn't the only area facing the brunt of a storm.

Workers prepare a house with storm shutters ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, U.S. September 12, 2018.

Hurricane-force winds now extend up to 80 miles and tropical-storm-force winds extend up to 195 miles from the center of the storm. A further 10 million people are now under some form of storm watch.

State officials and the National Weather Service warned the storm's weakening only relates to wind speed, not surges or flooding.

Landfall is expected late Thursday or early Friday, and the National Hurricane Center fears the storm "will slow considerably or stall, leading to a prolonged and exceptionally heavy and unsafe rainfall event Friday-Sunday".

Isaac became the fifth hurricane of the season late Sunday and was initially expected to strengthen, potentially becoming a Cat 2 storm with 100 miles per hour winds, as it crossed warm ocean waters.

By the time the storm leaves the region, forecasters expect it to drop 50 to 75 centimeters (19-30 inches) of rain in coastal areas, with some parts capable of receiving up to 100 centimeters (40 inches).

Normally when we talk about the potential for hurricane damage, we talk about the impact of storm surges and high winds - both of which are, to be sure, incredibly risky in their own right.

"Don't play games with it. It's a big one".

Forecast models predict Florence's center may slow to a crawl just off North Carolina early Friday and make a southwesterly turn - punishing the coast while moving perhaps only 2 to 3 miles per hour.

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Home Depot and Lowe's, the two US major hardware chains, said they sent around 1,000 trucks of generators, trash bags and bottled water and other items to their stores in the region as emergency response, according to local media reports. The two hardware chains said they had sent in a total of around 1,100 trucks.

Duke Energy estimated earlier this week that up to 3 million of its 4 million customers in North Carolina could lose power.

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

In Charleston, the city government said that after giving out 53,000 sandbags, "there is no longer any sand available at any city of Charleston location".

Computer models of exactly what the storm might do varied, adding to the uncertainty.

Officials in at least one area that ordered an evacuation will be going to homes to ask people planning to ride it out for information on their next of kin, CNN reported Wednesday.

In South Carolina, governor Henry McMaster said more than 300,000 people had fled the storm, urging residents living in low-lying areas to evacuate, even if they are not in a mandatory evacuation zone. Unsure of what they might find when they return home, the couple went shopping for a recreational vehicle.

"The rain's going to be around for a long time", he said.

"This is not going to be a glancing blow", Byard said, warning of power outages, road closures, infrastructure damage and potential loss of life. Three other Southern raceways also opened campgrounds to evacuees.

But forecasters warned that the widening storm - and its likelihood of lingering around the coast for days - will bring life-threatening storm surge and torrential rains.

In addition to the dangers the expected deluge of water poses, the hurricane center cautioned, "A few tornadoes are possible in eastern North Carolina beginning late Thursday morning".

News that the storm could plow through SC after landfall came shortly after McMaster lifted his mandatory-evacuation order for Beaufort County and many other areas south of Charleston. Today the threat becomes a reality, " he said.

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