'Monster' Hurricane Florence takes aim at U.S. Southeast

TD Bank

TD Bank

State officials and the National Weather Service warned the storm's weakening only relates to wind speed, not surges or flooding. On Thursday morning, South 17th Street, usually teeming with commuter traffic by 6:30 a.m., was almost devoid of cars.

"I ask all Georgians to join me in praying for the safety of our people and all those in the path of Hurricane Florence", Deal said.

The storm surge - often the most perilous risk to life posed by any hurricane - is expected to inundate areas along the coast with saltwater that's 9 to 13 feet deep, from Cape Fear, N.C., to Cape Lookout, N.C.

Life-threatening storm surges of up to 13 feet have been forecast in some areas when the monster storm eventually makes landfall in North and SC. The power company has warned that up to 3 million people could be left without power for an extended period of time following Hurricane Florence.

Its maximum sustained winds dropped slightly from 110 miles per hour earlier Thursday to 105 miles per hour, but the storm remains a Category 2 hurricane that is expected to cause widespread catastrophic damage. Heavy rains were forecast to extend into the Appalachian mountains, affecting parts of Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.

Isaac is expected to reach the islands, which remain under a tropical storm warning, by Thursday afternoon and cross the Caribbean through Saturday. Sustained winds slowed slightly to 125 miles per hour Tuesday afternoon, making it a Cat 3 storm. His remarks fell flat in Puerto Rico where islanders are continuing to struggle to recover a year after the Category 4 storm.


On Instagram, parenting blogger Chrissy Marie, based in North Carolina, posted a photo of her kids' hurricane party, complete with bright pink balloons. REUTERS/Chris KeanePeople walk past a boarded up building before Hurricane Florence comes ashore in Carolina Beach, North Carolina, U.S., September 12, 2018.

Myrtle Beach International Airport in SC has also suspended commercial operations, and urges passengers to check with their airlines - not the airport - about upcoming itineraries. The winds may be down a bit, but the one-two intense punches that we are expecting are still there. The surge won't be as bad as it potentially could have been, however, and the winds won't be as strong. Then it dropped to an extratropical cyclone - but with hurricane-force winds akin to a low Category 1 hurricane - before making landfall in New Jersey. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads.

More than 1 million people will likely evacuate from the storm's path in the Carolinas and Virginia, according to the New York Times.

Duke Energy said Florence, a Category 2 storm, could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks.

"Power outages will linger the longest and cause the most trouble", Abrams says.

As the storm - with those winds - nears shallow water along the coast, its forces water inland.

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