Hurricane Florence is approaching the US East Coast and is expected to hit on Friday, but the preceding weather conditions, classified as a "tropical storm," will be felt Thursday. The hurricane is expected to bring in winds of about 150 mph, which is fast enough to dismantle panel housing
The National Hurricane Center warns of "life-threatening storm surge and rainfall," and a hurricane warning is in effect for a massive chunk of the coast, from South Carolina to the Outer Banks in North Carolina.
And it might not even be the coast that will suffer the most. According to FEMA spokesman Steve Goldstein, "Once the storm does move inland, the inland flooding threat is extreme."
As Hurricane #Florence makes landfall, the storm movement will be a crawl. Models are showing monumental rainfall totals along the coast and just inland east of the eye's landfall location… large area of 20"+ rainfall up to 40"+— Ryan Maue | weathermodels.com (@RyanMaue) 11 сентября 2018 г.
Both ECMWF and UKMET show similar patterns. pic.twitter.com/owtHr1TIAr
While a National Weather Service forecast on Wednesday predicted some 25 inches of rainfall at most, FEMA's estimations are far worse.
"Fifteen to 25 inches of rain is forecast, with up to 40 inches near the exact center of Florence," Goldstein said. That equates to about 1 meter of water falling across huge areas of inland America.
"This hurricane is bringing more rain than any other hurricane," South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said, according to SCETV Twitter.
"The more time it sits over an area, the greater the danger of catastrophic flooding. Even well inland, boats may be the most valuable means of transport," an ABC report warns.
A state of emergency has been declared in both South and North Carolina, as well as in Virginia, Maryland and Georgia.
As South Carolina prepares for the environmental disaster, some 2,100 National Guard soldiers have been dispatched to prepare for it. Some 2,800 soldiers are expected to be on duty in North Carolina.
In Charleston, South Carolina, the government gave out 53,000 sandbags to fend off flooding in the historic town, reporting that "there is no longer any sand available at any City of Charleston location."
After distributing over 53,000 sandbags in the city, there is no longer any sand available at any city of Charleston location. #chsnews— City of Charleston (@CityCharleston) 12 сентября 2018 г.
The Wilmington fire department in North Carolina urged those who decided to ignore the evacuation order and try to ride out the storm to prepare water and nonperishable foods for at least seven days of hardship.
Prep with at least 7 days in mind. Water, nonperishable foods, cash.— WilmingtonFD (@WilmingtonFD) 12 сентября 2018 г.
The two Carolinas have set up and are constantly updating a list of emergency shelters for those who have nowhere to go to wait through the storm.
"Just because we have a landfall to your south, that doesn't mean you're out of the woods, because the winds are huge around this system," NHC Director Ken Graham said.
"I know folks have been watching the weather reports over the last few days and thinking well, we might just dodge this bullet," Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said. "Well, now is the time to make that decision to go ahead and get out of town."
"There is still time to get out safely," North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper echoed.