Residents Told To 'get Out Now' As Florence Takes Aim At Carolinas
Faizan Hashmi 9 days ago Wed 12th September 2018 | 10:09 AM
Charleston, United States, Sept 12 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News, app - 12th Sep, 2018 ) :Streams of cars clogged roads leading away from the coast of North and South Carolina on Tuesday as residents began fleeing ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence, a powerful Category 4 storm barreling towards the eastern US states.
While many coastal residents heeded mandatory evacuation orders, others were boarding up homes and businesses and choosing to brave the storm.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned that this would be a grave mistake and said people in evacuation zones "need to get out now." "This is not a storm that people need to ride out," Cooper told reporters. "This is a storm that is historic, maybe once in a lifetime." Up to 1.7 million people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia have been given voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders, according to emergency management officials, as the storm churns across the Atlantic Ocean towards the coast.
The east-bound lanes of several major highways have been shut down to allow for a smooth flow of traffic inland.
"We are already experiencing heavily impacted traffic on some of the evacuation routes," said Jeff Byard, the associate administrator for response and recovery at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Forecasters are predicting that Florence will make landfall in the Carolinas late Thursday or early Friday as a Category 3 hurricane.
At 2:00 pm (1800 GMT), Florence was a Category 4 hurricane packing winds of 130 miles per hour (215 kilometers per hour), the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
It was located 845 miles (1,360 kms) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, and moving at 17 mph (29 kph) in a west-northwest direction.
Briefing from the Oval Office, President Donald Trump urged people to heed orders to evacuate, saying "if you are asked to leave, get out." "This will be a storm that's going to be far larger than we have seen in perhaps decades," Trump said.
"We're as ready as anybody has ever been," the president added. "We are sparing no expense." - 'Direct hit' - Speaking in the Oval Office alongside Trump, FEMA administrator Brock Long said Florence may be a "very devastating storm." "The power will be off for weeks," Long said. "You're going to be displaced from your home in coastal areas. There will be flooding in inland areas as well." Byard, the FEMA official, said "this storm is not going to be a glancing blow.
"This storm is going to be a direct hit." The NHC said Florence is expected to be an "extremely dangerous major hurricane" when it makes landfall in the Carolinas late Thursday or early Friday, bringing life-threatening storm surge to coastal areas.
Streets were quiet with schools and many offices and businesses closed.
But his partner, Emily Whisler, said she will remain behind at the university where she is a resident in the psychiatry program.
"They told me to bring a pillow and blanket," Whisler said. "I'll be living there for a few days." Charleston, resident William Belli said he would not be among those joining the exodus.
"Been through it!" Belli said, referring to Hurricane Hugo, which caused widespread damage in South Carolina in 1989. "Not worried in the least."Walking his dog along empty streets, Belli said he's well stocked with food and water. "I will enjoy the quiet," he said.