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Hurricane Florence Threatened the East Coast

Kayli Mak

On Sunday, Sept. 9, Tropical Storm Florence was upgraded to Hurricane Florence. At the time, the storm was located in the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 1400 miles from the East Coast of the U.S. Hurricane centers predicted that Florence would be a dangerous Category 4 hurricane when it hit the southeastern U.S.

The flooding began on Thursday, Sept. 13, in North Carolina beach communities. Early on Thursday morning, the winds slowed from a maximum speed of 140 miles-per-hour to a maximum speed of 100 miles-per-hour, dropping Florence down from a Category 4 hurricane to a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. While it was weakened by two categories, experts warned against being fooled. Despite the hurricane’s reduced category, the lands affected sustained the damage of a Category 4 storm surge. Meteorologists also expected massive flooding and historic rainfall far inland. Hurricane Florence was also projected to stay suspended over the Carolina region due to its slow forward speed of 5 miles-per-hour.

On Thursday, Sept. 13, over 88,000 homes and businesses were without electricity and nearly 1300 flights all over the East Coast were canceled as a result of 73 mile-per-hour winds and torrential rainfall. One to three million homes were expected to lose power, and 1.7 million people across the East Coast were under evacuation orders. The hurricane was not expected to intensify before it moved ashore, but lingering water after the storm was anticipated to be a serious problem.

The National Hurricane Center reported the storm was expected to dump nearly 40 inches of rainwater on the eastern coast of the U.S. The potential damage has been compared to the wreckage by Hurricane Harvey on the Houston area just last year.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said to the residents of South Carolina on Thursday, Sept. 13, “If you have not left, if you are in a place of danger, if you are in these zones, now is the time to go because that window of opportunity is closing on you very quickly.” At the time, in South Carolina alone, 421,000 people were evacuated from their homes.

On Wednesday, Sept. 12, President Donald Trump warned, “Don’t play games with it. It’s a big one.”

Many people stayed overnight in Red Cross shelters set up along the East Coast, trying to avoid the deadly inland flooding that was to come.

Hurricane Florence was one of four storms currently brewing in the Atlantic.

Photo courtesy of BBC.COM

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Hurricane Florence Threatened the East Coast