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Florence could be costliest storm ever to hit the US

Florence could be costliest storm ever to hit the US

"Florence is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 15 to 20 inches with isolated maximum to 30 inches near Florence's track over portions of North Carolina, Virginia, and northern SC through Saturday", says the National Hurricane Center.

Trump has declared states of emergency for North and SC and Virginia, and canceled campaign events Thursday and Friday in anticipation of the storm.

Maps of Florence's trajectory showed the centre of the storm most likely to strike the southern coast of North Carolina.

"A warning is typically issued 36 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations hard or unsafe", the warning states.

The storm rapidly intensified to Category 4 status Monday with sustained winds of 140 miles per hour. Also, looking like a direct hit on North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

In the Pacific, Olivia became a tropical storm again on a path to hit Hawaiian islands early on Wednesday.

"The levels are in pretty good shape to handle the rain, but it all depends on how much rain we get", Ashby said.

Florence catapulted from a Category 2 to a Category 4 hurricane in just a few hours.

Usually storms come to the Carolinas and mid-Atlantic from the south - and those usually curve safely out to sea.

With little wind shear to pull the storm apart, Florence's hurricane-strength winds are expanding, reaching 40 miles from the eye of the storm, with tropical storm-force winds reaching up to 150 miles.

Overnight, Florence went through an "eyewall replacement cycle", Senior Hurricane Specialist Stacy Stewart said in an update from the hurricane center on Tuesday. "We know how to prepare our plants for these types of major events". East Carolina officials say they had decided the team wouldn't travel to Blacksburg due to "significant imminent safety concerns", including "perilous travel conditions before, during and after the storm".

"There's 25% more people living between Charleston (South Carolina) and Morehead City (North Carolina) than there were when Hugo was making landfall", Myers said.

Large cities and towns that lie within the most threatened zone include Jacksonville, Greenville, New Bern, Morehead City and Kinston, says the center.

"Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls".

"This has an opportunity of being a devastating storm. So will the power lines, as the trees fall down".

With predicted heavy rain and strong wind later in the week, Stokes County Emergency Services Director Brandon Gentry is encouraging locals stock up on enough supplies to wait out power outages that could last several days.

Freight haulers need to be prepared for many washed out roadways and damage to rail infrastructure across this multi-state area. Florence was a Category 4 storm late afternoon Monday. "We may see surface winds late this week and over the weekend pick up to between 10 and 15 miles per hour during the day".

With the remnants of one tropical storm already dumping rain across Atlantic Canada on Tuesday, residents were keeping a close watch on three other storms churning their way across the Atlantic.

The current forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calls for more than 20 inches of rain where the storm makes landfall.


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