Hurricane Florence appears alarmingly similar to simulated 'worst-case scenario' storm
Federal Emergency Management Agency had created a simulation of a fictional 'Hurricane Cora' barreling into southeast Virginia it revealed unfathomable destruction
The fast-approaching monster storm Hurricane Florence, which is set to strike a vulnerable east coast on Thursday, is appearing strikingly similar to Category 4 hurricane simulated by disaster planners just months ago.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) had created a narrative of a fictional 'Hurricane Cora' barreling into southeast Virginia and up the Chesapeake Bay to strike Washington, D.C. The projected path of Hurricance Florence, which is a Category 4 storm, also includes the same region covered by the fictional hurricane.
Reports state that the result of the fictional hurricane was a catastrophic damage in the area, and some of the experts are concerned that Hurricane Florence could produce similar results with destruction comparable to 2005's Hurricane Katrina.
According to a Department of Energy simulation manual, the simulated hurricane knocked out power for most gas stations in the Mid-Atlantic region, damaged a major nuclear power plant and sent debris into major shipping channels.
A research professor at Virginia’s Old Dominion University, Joshua Behr, who is involved in disaster modeling and simulations said: "What they were trying to do was create a worst-case scenario, but it’s a very realistic scenario."
FEMA said that senior leaders from the White House, along with more than 91 federal department and agencies, participated in the "national level exercise" which was conducted in late April and early May.
The fictional hurricane made landfall in the Hampton Roads region, which is heavily populated, and brought a 15-foot storm surge along with it and up to 9 inches of rain to certain areas within the first six hours, accordig to the New York Post.
Hurricane Cora, in the fictional narrative, slammed hurricane-force winds into at least three nuclear power stations, damaging one of them. Reports state that thirty-three major power stations were at risk from the major flooding caused by Hurricane Cora.
Reports state that the Environmental Protection Agency is currently monitoring nearly nine hazardous waste sites in the Carolinas in the projected path of Hurricane Florence which could unleash toxic chemicals because of storm surge.
Behr, who has studied vulnerable populations in the paths of Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast and in the Hampton Roads region, said: "What I fear is that saturation, combined with a storm that kind of stalls out. I believe that those patterns are also going to manifest in Hampton Roads if and when a large storm hits,” he said.
“The vulnerability of our populations are quite similar to New Orleans. Displacement, pain, suffering, property loss. All those things are going to play out in a fashion that has parallels to how Katrina played out.”