Tropical Storm Florence: SC Governor Declares State of Emergency

Michele Stevens
September 12, 2018

Dare County officials ordered everyone to leave Hatteras Island on Monday.

In addition, a Storm Surge Watch is in effect for Edisto Beach, South Carolina to South Santee River, South Carolina; and North of Duck, North Carolina to the North Carolina/Virginia border.

Concerns about the monster storm extended even into Virginia. Meteorologists expect the tropical storm to evolve into a major hurricane by Tuesday night. "Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months".

No hurricane has made landfall as a Category 5 in this region on record.

Hurricane Florence is still on track to hit the East Coast of the United States this week - and two other big storms are brewing right behind it.

Forecasters at the NHC said Florence would continue to strengthen and "is expected to remain an extremely risky major hurricane through Thursday".

Hurricane Olivia had maximum sustained winds of 90 mph, and was approximately 1,370 miles east of Honolulu as of 11 p.m. local time. Since reliable record-keeping began more than 150 years ago, North Carolina has only been hit by one Category 4 hurricane: Hazel, with 130 miles per hour winds in 1954. The storm could impact anywhere from northern Florida to north of the Washington, D.C., area, producing life-threatening conditions.

The first impacts were already being seen on barrier islands as risky rip currents and seawater flowing over a coastal road.

Red flags flying on beaches warned swimmers to stay out of waters already roiled by the distant storm, and cruise ships and Navy vessels were set to be steered out of harm's way.


"This is very scary rain event potentially setting up this week", Rossi said.

Swells generated by Florence are already affecting Bermuda and are beginning to reach portions of the US East Coast, the hurricane center said.

An evacuation order from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam applies to about 245,000 people, including parts of the Hampton Roads area and Eastern Shore.

At a press conference with the state's Emergency Management Division director Kim Stenson, McMaster told residents to follow a "Hurricane Guide" and prepare their homes.

In South Carolina, Gov. Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency Saturday to give his state time to prepare for the possible arrival of the storm.

Brian McNoldy, a senior researcher at the University of Miami's school of marine and atmospheric science, says residents who stick it out should have gas cans to fuel their cars and power generators, and should take out some cash in case electronic payment systems are down after the storms pass.

"We are hoping for the best and preparing for the worst", Hogan said.

Hurricane Isaac, meanwhile, was expected to lose strength as it reaches the Caribbean, and Helene, much farther out to sea, may veer northward into the open Atlantic as the 2018 hurricane season reaches its peak. The storms are two of three hurricanes now spinning in the Atlantic.

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