Hurricane Florence: Heavy rains, catastrophic flash floods predicted as Carolinas brace for worst storm in 60 years

The Category 4 storm has maximum sustained winds of 140 miles per hour and is already 500 miles wide


                            Hurricane Florence: Heavy rains, catastrophic flash floods predicted as Carolinas brace for worst storm in 60 years

Category 4 Hurricane Florence, which is expected to strike North and South Carolina soon, will be the worst storm to hit the state in 64 years. Reports state that Florence has gained more strength than Hurricane Hazel in 1954. Hazel destroyed nearly 15,000 buildings when it hit the state over 60 years ago.

The governors of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland on Monday declared a state of emergency as over one million people were ordered to evacuate their homes along the coasts before the "dangerous" storm makes landfall.

In this NOAA satellite handout image, shows Hurricane Florence as it travels west and gains strength in the Atlantic Ocean southeast of Bermuda on September 10, 2018. Weather predictions say the storm will likely hit the U.S. East Coast as early as Thursday, September 13 bringing massive winds and rain.
In this NOAA satellite handout image, shows Hurricane Florence as it travels west and gains strength in the Atlantic Ocean southeast of Bermuda on September 10, 2018. Weather predictions say the storm will likely hit the U.S. East Coast as early as Thursday, September 13 bringing massive winds and rain.

The National Hurricane Center on Tuesday said that Florence maintained Category 4 strength at about 950 miles east south east of Cape Fear, North Carolina. The Center added that the storm has maximum sustained winds of 140 miles per hour and is already 500 miles wide. Hurricane Hazel, when it made landfall on the North Carolina coase in 1954, had registered winds of 150 miles per hour. 

"Florence is expected to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane through Thursday night," the agency said.

Workers board up shops while preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Florence on September 11, 2018 in Wrightsville Beach, United States. Hurricane Florence is expected on Friday possibly as a category 4 storm along the Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina coastline.
Workers board up shops while preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Florence on September 11, 2018 in Wrightsville Beach, United States. Hurricane Florence is expected on Friday possibly as a category 4 storm along the Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina coastline.

Officials said that they expect Hurricane Florence to produce between 15 to 20 inches of total rainfall across portions of North Carolina, Virginia and South Carolina until Saturday, adding that the storm may create "life-threatening flash flooding" with up to 30 inches of rainfall closer to the center of the storm.



 

A hurricane historian and author Jay Barnes, while talking to the AP, said that Hurricane Hazel was "a benchmark storm in North Carolina's history," and added that, with mass evacuations in the state already underway, Hurricane Florence could potentially have a worse impact than Hazel.

"Today, we have thousands and thousands of permanent residents on our barrier beaches," Barnes told AP. "It's a totally different scenario with regard to human impact," Barnes said.



 

A storm surge watch has been issued by the National Hurricane Center from Edisto Beach, South Carolina to the border of North Carolina and Virginia. Reports state that coastal areas may see waters surge by as much as eight feet or more above ground.

"The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore winds, where the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves," the Center said.