‘Heed the warnings,’ officials warn Carolinas as massive storm nears

‘Heed the warnings,’ officials warn Carolinas as massive storm nears

WILMINGTON, N.C. – North and South Carolina residents are running out of time to evacuate before Hurricane Florence roars in with pounding surf and driving rain that will bring potentially deadly flooding, officials warned on Wednesday.

Florence had maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour (215 km per hour) and was on a trajectory that showed its center most likely to strike the southern coast of North Carolina by late Thursday or early Friday, the National Hurricane Center said.

Updated NHC forecasts showed the storm lingering near the coast of the Carolinas, carrying days of heavy rains that could bring intense inland flooding from South Carolina to Virginia. Parts of North Carolina could get 40 inches (1 meter).

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, concerned the storm would bring its devastation south, issued an emergency declaration for all 159 counties in the state.

“Be prepared for the inland effects of the storm as well as the ensuing storm surge in coastal areas,” Deal said in a statement.

Florence is rated a Category 4 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale. Jeff Byard of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) invoked a former boxing champion to warn residents that it would bring “a Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast.”

“Heed the warnings,” Byard said.

(For graphic on Hurricane Florence heads toward Carolinas, click https://tmsnrt.rs/2oZ5m1v)

(For graphic on Forecast rainfall in inches from Hurricane Florence, click https://tmsnrt.rs/2oZFKSb)

(Additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee, Scott DiSavino in New York and Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, writing by Bill Trott; Editing by Scott Malone, Nick Zieminski and Bernadette Baum)

Published at Wed, 12 Sep 2018 10:05:08 -0700

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