Research

'It Wants to Get Stronger': NOAA Hurricane Hunter Flies into Florence

'It Wants to Get Stronger': NOAA Hurricane Hunter Flies into Florence

Both Athens hospitals were monitoring the progress of the storm in case they were needed to receive patients from areas impacted by the storm.

"This rainfall would produce catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding", forecasters said Wednesday. As of now, Florence is due to make landfall very early Friday morning, somewhere in the Carolinas.

"It's going to destroy homes", said Jeff Byard, an official at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

At 11:00 pm (0300 GMT), the eye of the storm was 280 miles (450 km) southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, moving northwest at 17 mph.

A hurricane warning - meaning hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours - is in effect for a long stretch of the coast, from the Santee River in SC to Duck, N.C., which is part of the Outer Banks.

The storm is still on track to make landfall in the coastal carolina region, but is starting to drift south. Officials say it is possible SC will bear the brunt of Hurricane Florence.

The eastbound lanes of several major highways have been shut to allow traffic to flow inland, but the exodus was slow along roads jammed with outward-bound vehicles.

More news: Big Machine Vodka 400 postponed — NASCAR at Indianapolis

In Columbia, South Carolina, Barry Sparks, a 66-year-old retiree, was thinking of getting out after the path of the storm shifted somewhat to the south.

"He lives in North Carolina".

"This one really scares me", Graham said. You're going to be displaced from your home in the coastal areas. "Don't bet your life on riding out a monster", he said. Thousands of Marines and their families evacuated from Camp Lejeune, leaving the rest to dig in ahead of what could be a direct hit. "We have everything. We're ready".

"Plan to be without power for days", Cooper said. Landfall was expected sometime late Thursday and FEMA officials said Wednesday was the last day for people to get out safely. In South Carolina and inland parts of North Carolina, 5 to 10 inches of rain could fall, with 20 inches possible in some areas.

On Monday, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster ordered the medical evacuation of all hospitals in flood zones in Myrtle Beach, which led to Grand Strand Medical Center transferring patients to sister hospitals, including Doctors Hospital of Augusta.

Even with some weakening that's predicted just before it makes landfall, the storm "is expected to remain a unsafe major hurricane as it approaches the coastline", the hurricane center said.

The image circles some of the points where the most extreme weather is set to batter the world this week, giving a word of warning about the dangers they pose.