Some steadfast residents to stay put as Hurricane Florence approaches

A sign shows a warning before the approaching Hurricane Florence in Wilmington North Carolina on Sept 12 2018

A sign shows a warning before the approaching Hurricane Florence in Wilmington North Carolina on Sept 12 2018

Due to unusual steering patterns in the atmosphere, Florence may crawl southward down the Southeast coast, the opposite direction storms usually travel.

We've pulled together some of the key elements that explain why officials are so anxious, and what damage Florence could cause.

As of 11 p.m., the storm was centered 280 miles east southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and was moving northwest at 17 mph.

Forecasts showed the storm lingering near the coast of the Carolinas, carrying days of heavy rains that could bring intense inland flooding from SC to Virginia.

Cooper and his SC counterpart, Henry McMaster, told the more than 1 million people who have been directed to leave that if they don't do so, they are on their own. St. Helena Island near the South Carolina-Georgia line is used to riding out big storms - from one that killed an estimated 2,000 people in 1893 to Tropical Storm Irma previous year.

So how are these people preparing?

However, residents were warned this has not lessened the threat from the severe weather Florence will bring to the East Coast.

"We could maybe get some outer bands or very, very outer bands of the hurricane", said Jeremy Geiger, a weather service meteorologist. One emergency official said it will be a "Mike Tyson punch" to the area.


Hurricane-force winds will bring down trees and damage homes and businesses. "Storms like that don't usually make it that far west". But authorities warned Florence has an enormous wind field that has been growing larger, raising the risk of the ocean surging on to land and making Florence extremely risky.

Duke Energy, the second-largest energy company in the United States, said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its four million customers in the Carolinas.

Maryland, though, could be spared the catastrophic flooding thought possible in recent days. In Virginia, officials have evacuated one state prison, though local jails in the affected area are planning to keep inmates in place after stockpiling food and fuel, the Virginian-Pilot reports. These could be as high as 13ft (4m) along parts of the North Carolina coast.

All of this has led to fears that the state could face an environmental disaster if industrial waste - including hog manure and coal ash - is washed into people's homes.

Port of Wilmington, North Carolina, extended operating hours for trains and trucks to clear cargo containers from the complex.

In Houston, 20 elderly residents had to be rescued from waist-deep water in their nursing home after Hurricane Harvey dumped record amounts of rain on the region.

The prison, home to nearly 1,000 prisoners and up to 119 staff, was ordered to stay put even during an initial mandatory evacuation for surrounding Jasper County.

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