Oman Observer

Carolina coast battening down, boarding up as hurricane nears

WILMINGTON, NC: Beach communities in North and South Carolina emptied out on Wednesday as Hurricane Florence threatened to unleash pounding surf and potentially deadly flooding as the most powerful storm to make a direct hit on the southeastern states in decades.
Florence had maximum sustained winds of 215 km per hour and was on a trajectory that showed its centre most likely to strike the southern coast of North Carolina by Friday, the National Hurricane Center said.
Updated NHC forecasts showed the storm lingering near the coast, bringing days of heavy rains that could bring intense inland flooding from South Carolina, where some areas could see as much as 40 inches of rain, to Virginia.
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.”
“The time to prepare is almost over,” said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper at a Wednesday morning news conference. “Disaster is at the doorstep and it’s coming in.”
More than 1 million people have been ordered to evacuate the coastline of the three states, while university campuses, schools and factories were being shuttered.
The NHC said the first tropical storm-force winds of at least 63 kph would hit the region early on Thursday with the storm’s centre reaching the coast Friday. At 8 am (12:00 GMT) on Wednesday the storm was located about 855 km southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina.
The storm surge, or wind-driven seawater, poses a huge danger, FEMA Administrator Brock Long warned on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
“People do not live and survive to tell the tale about what their experience is like with storm surge,” he said. “It’s the most deadly part of the hurricane that comes in.”
MSNBC reported the Trump administration had diverted nearly $10 billion from FEMA to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which leads border enforcement. But that has not affected the response to Florence, Byard told a news conference.
— Reuters