As Hurricane Florence nears the East Coast, coastal and inland flooding becomes an increasing concern
Hurricane Florence is forecast to curve just off of North Carolina’s coast and turn south, hitting South Carolina with the brunt of its Category 4 hurricane force winds. More than 1 million people in coastal communities in North and South Carolina and Virginia are under mandatory evacuations, with major coastal roads scheduled to be closed today, Sept. 12 at noon EST. As of 8 a.m. Sept. 12, the storm was 530 miles southeast of Cape Fear, N.C., with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph and is predicted to hit the East Coast late Sept. 13 to early Sept. 14. Hurricane Florence poses a major threat as one of the most powerful hurricanes to hit the East Coast in the last century and likely will result in storm surges, coastal and inland flooding, high sustained winds, and damage to infrastructure.
According to the National Hurricane Center, life-threatening storm surges up to 13 ft are expected along the Carolina coast and up to 40 in of rain could result in flash flooding throughout the Carolinas. While Florence is expected to weaken Thursday, possibly downgrading to a Category 3 hurricane before making landfall, a serious threat remains.
“This will likely be the storm of a lifetime for portion of the Carolina coast, and that’s saying a lot given the impacts we’ve seen from Hurricanes Diana, Hugo, Fran, Bonnie, Floyd, and Matthew,” the National Weather Service in Wilmington, N.C., said.
States of emergency have been declared in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and South Carolina, in anticipation of the storm’s impact.
“We are hoping for the best and preparing for the worst,” said Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.
While the brunt of Hurricane Florence is expected to hit the Carolinas, other East Coast and southern states, including Tennessee, Georgia, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland and Pennsylvania, are likely to feel the impact of the storm. Further inland areas face the risk of flash flooding and landslides as Hurricane Florence pours heavy rainfall on the states, as reported by CNN.