Yahoo News explains: Expert warnings for Hurricane Florence

Kate Murphy
Producer

As Hurricane Florence barrels toward the U.S. East Coast, over 1.5 million people have been ordered to evacuate in coastal areas from South Carolina to Virginia.

FEMA official Jeff Byard said Tuesday, “This is a major storm. It’s going to hit our coast; it’s going to stay on our coast. It’s going to dump amounts of water that some of these areas haven’t seen in a long, long time.”

As of Tuesday, Florence had sustained winds of 130 mph, making it a Category 4 storm. It is expected to make landfall Friday. North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., have declared states of emergency.

Here are some of the key warnings from the National Hurricane Center:

1) A “life-threatening storm surge” — a surge of ocean water over normally dry land — is likely along portions of the coastlines of Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. A storm surge watch is also in effect for part of this area.


2) “Life-threatening, catastrophic flash flooding” is possible over parts of the Carolinas and mid-Atlantic states from late this week into early next week.

Like Hurricane Harvey — which stalled over Texas in 2017 — Florence could linger over the Southeast for several days after making landfall, bringing prolonged, heavy rain.


3) “Damaging hurricane-force winds” are expected along portions of the North Carolina and South Carolina coasts. A hurricane watch is in effect for a part of this area.


4) Large swells affecting portions of the U.S. East Coast and Bermuda will result in life-threatening surf and rip currents.

Hurricane Florence could inflict the hardest punch North Carolina has seen in more than 60 years. North Carolina has only been hit by one other Category 4 storm since record keeping began in the 1850s — Hurricane Hazel in 1954, which took 19 lives.