Wind approaches outer banks of North Carolina

Wind approaches outer banks of North Carolina

WASHINGTON - Ports are closing. "The global models suggest that this shear will relax today while Florence moves over warm waters, however, given the current storm structure, little overall change in strength is anticipated as Florence approaches the coast". Flooding could prove devastating.

This is when Hurricane Florence is expected to be closest to us.

National Guard soldiers from the state, North Carolina and Virginia are mobilizing to prepare for hurricane recovery efforts.

It could have been worse.

Ferry service from North Carolina's Bald Head Island already has stopped. There are now fewer tourists to send away.

"The ironic thing is, when there's a rebuilding effort, that can energize local economies", Walden said.

"It's going to coming roaring up to the coast Thursday night and say 'I'm not sure I really want to do this and I'll just take a tour of the coast and decide where I want to go inland, '" said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the private Weather Underground. Hiring is likely to be especially strong in construction and at retailers that sell building materials and supplies.

A crawling pace can be even more punishing than a fast one, because it lets the storm stall in one area as it dumps more and more heavy rain. A Hurricane Warning is in effect for South Santee River, South Carolina to Duck, North Carolina and the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds. High-tech auto plants co-exist with beachfront bed-and-breakfast inns and peanut farms.

Duke Energy Corp. expected between 25 percent and 75 percent of its 4 million customers would lose power in the Carolinas. The storm will have winds in the 105 miles per hour range. Some 11,000 power outages had been reported Thursday morning. Those pipelines carry fuel from the Gulf Coast to much of the eastern United States. A third high-pressure system over the central USA pushed the cyclone south and could contribute to its stalling, which could result in a situation similar to what happened in 2017 when Hurricane Harvey hovered over Houston and devastated it with massive rains and flooding.

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As Florence closed in, some residents weighed whether to ride it out. Forecasts show those currents giving Florence no sense of direction in a day or so.

And Florence will nearly surely depress auto production in SC, where Volvo already has closed a new factory near Charleston because it's in an area under mandatory evacuation orders, said spokesman Russell Datz.

"Unfortunately, this is bad timing that Florence is happening at the same time these systems are fighting with each other", said Rosimar Ríos-Berríos, a research meteorologist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. The more it hovers just off shore, the more potentially deadly storm surge it could push on-shore. It also could cut September auto sales by about 110,000 vehicles, which would have to be made up later, he wrote.

"While Florence has weakened below major hurricane intensity, the wind field of the hurricane continues to grow in size", the NHC said in its latest bulletin.

Florence's path remains uncertain. They also expect higher storm surges due to the rise in sea level, which will increase chances for flooding.

But even inland dealerships are bracing for damage. A slow motion over eastern SC is forecast Friday night through Saturday night.

"It's surreal to think we may have nothing to go home to", she said.

Florence's winds had dropped from a peak of 140 miles per hour to 105 miles per hour by Thursday, reducing the hurricane from a terrifying Category 4 to a 2. The area is under tropical storm and flash flood watches into the weekend.

"You have a double whammy in the flooding", he said.

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