Track the Storm in North, South Carolina

Gwen Vasquez
September 17, 2018

Hurricane Florence is now a category 2 hurricane, with winds of close to 110mph (177km/h).

The National Hurricane Center's Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch reports that wave heights of 83 feet were measured under the northeast quadrant of Hurricane Florence as it spiraled out in the Atlantic, moving west toward the Carolinas.

SC authorities said law enforcement officers were guarding against looting in evacuated areas, while Wilmington set a curfew on Saturday evening in response to looting in one area. Forecasters are also warning of catastrophic inland flooding that could swamp homes, businesses, farm fields and industrial sites.

More than 10 million people are under watches and warnings, the Associated Press reported.

In all, an estimated 10 million people live in areas expected to be placed under a hurricane or storm advisory, according to the U.S. Weather Prediction Center.

Nearly 800,000 people are reported to be without power already in North Carolina, and officials have warned restoring electricity could take days or even weeks.

Hurricane Florence has started to hit the North Carolina coast.

Tropical Storm Florence was downgraded from a risky Category 1 storm Friday, but millions have still been affected.

Airlines announced that change fees would be waived for travellers affected by the storm and in need of rebooking flights or postponing their travel until after the storm passes. Home Depot and Lowe's activated emergency response centres to get generators, rubbish bags and bottled water to stores before and after the storm.

Trucks are rushing into the region to restock store shelves, but Peggy Dorf, a freight and logistics market analyst for DAT Solutions, says they won't be for much longer.

Five percent of gas stations in North Carolina were out of gas (one in 10 gas stations in Wilmington and Raleigh-Durham), while 2.1 percent in SC and 1 percent in Virginia were out.

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Florence is a large hurricane.

A hurricane watch is in effect for Edisto Beach South Carolina to South Santee River South Carolina.

"In 12 or 18 hours, they may be saying different things all over again", he said.

Computer simulations - especially the often star-performing European model - push the storm further south, even into SC and Georgia. "It is imperative that everyone follow local evacuation orders".

Authorities in coastal areas that lie in the path of the massive storm are urging residents one last time to evacuate.

The hurricane, whose strength has been compared to a direct hit by Mike Tyson, advances with maximum sustained winds of 175 kilometres per hour.

Governor Cooper said the hurricane was likely to "continue its violent grind across the state for days". Unsure of what they might find when they return home, the couple went shopping for a recreational vehicle.

"Either no (hotel) rooms are available, or we are denied because the breed or size of dogs", she said.

Melody Rawson evacuated her first-floor apartment in Myrtle Beach and arrived at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia, to camp for free with three other adults, her disabled son, two dogs and a pet bird.

"And by that I mean the teams and families but also the allotment of resources used for the game that could be better used somewhere else", Hunt said in a statement.

Usually when a storm approaches the coast, forecasters can tell with ever-increasing accuracy who will get walloped. It marks the beginning of a prolonged assault from wind and water, which - by the time it's over - is likely to bring devastating damage and flooding to millions of people in the Southeast.

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