US East Coast Prepares for Hurricane Florence

US East Coast Prepares for Hurricane Florence

Thursday, 13 September, 2018 - 08:00
A high definition camera outside the International Space Station captured a NASA view of Hurricane Florence. HO/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
London- Asharq Al-Awsat
The US East Coast is preparing for the powerful hurricane Florence, which is expected to hit within days. About one million people have been ordered to evacuate their areas, and dozens of schools and shops have been closed.

President Donald Trump said on Twitter on Monday: "My team just told me this is one of the worst storms to hit the East Coast in many years. It seems it is going to target North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia,"

He continued: "Please be prepared, be careful and be SAFE!" noting that he spoke with the governors of the three states.

Local authorities have been mobilizing since the end of last week, declaring a state of emergency in preparation for the hurricane, which intensified on Monday afternoon to become a Category 4 on the five-level Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale, AFP reported.

According to the latest report of the National Hurricane Center, the accompanying winds reached up to 220 km at 21.00 GMT. "Florence is expanding and growing," it said.

In South Carolina, more than one million people are expected to be evacuated by order of Governor Henry McMaster, on a 320-kilometer coastal strip. In the coastal city of Charleston, municipal workers inspect waterways and rainwater drainage points while residents store provisions and set up wooden panels to protect windows.

Shannon Tillman, who was reluctant to evacuate his family and pets, filled his car in with water bottles, canned meat and soups.

Residents set up bags of sand to prevent water from invading their houses. Rainfall is expected to reach up to 50 centimeters, along with rising ocean levels.

"It will likely lead to a deadly sea level rise, flooding, and devastating winds in the states of Carolina and Virginia," the Federal Emergency Management Agency warned.

The National Meteorological Center (NMC) called on the population "not to focus on the hurricane-related forecasts." "Even people away from Florence will be affected. Its effects will reach the coast before the hurricane itself," it said.

North Carolina authorities ordered the first evacuation on Hatteras Island, starting Tuesday in the coastal area of Outer Banks.

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