Hurricane Florence, Part 3

[Previously: Part 1; Part 2.]

Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for more than a million people in the Carolinas and parts of Virginia as Hurricane Florence heads toward the U.S. east coast. If you are in the areas for which evacuations have been ordered, and are a non-incarcerated person who is allowed to evacuate, please heed the evacuation orders for your own safety.

* * *

Hurricane Florence has been downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane, but meteorologists are urging not to underestimate the storm. That merely indicates a reduction in sustained windspeed, but the real threat of Florence has always been storm surges and flooding, predictions for which remain the same.

Nicole Chavez and Holly Yan at CNN: Hurricane Florence Is Slashing the Carolinas in the Opening Act of a 3-Day, Coastal Disaster.
• Fierce winds and rain have started: "Rain bands with tropical-storm-force winds (are) moving onshore on the outer banks of North Carolina," the National Hurricane Center said. Tropical-storm-force winds are between 39 and 73 mph.

• Florence is getting closer: As of 8 ET Thursday morning, the center of Florence was about 170 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 220 miles east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

• The path of the storm: Florence's center will approach the North and South Carolina coasts late Thursday and Friday, but it's unclear exactly when and where and it will make landfall. As the storm moves inland, Georgia, Virginia, and Maryland will also be in peril.

• Storm surge is a huge threat: Strong winds will send rising water inland from the coastline of the Carolinas. The storm surge could rise up to 13 feet — that's water inundating homes up to the first-floor ceiling, the National Hurricane Center said.

• Flight cancellations: At least 800 flights along the U.S. East Coast have been canceled Thursday through Saturday ahead of the storm.
I continue to hope fervently for the safety of everyone in the storm's path.

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