WNC waiting, watching path of Hurricane Florence
Hurricane Florence is anticipated to reach the Carolinas coast Thursday as a Category 4 Hurricane— anticipated to be the most damaging storm since the 1980s and potentially even more so. Swells could be higher than any previous storm to hit North Carolina. Strong winds are also anticipated.
On Monday, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster ordered mandatory evacuation of the state’s entire coastline beginning noon Tuesday.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency over the weekend and asked for a federal disaster declaration ahead of the storm on Monday to ensure federal aid is released as soon as possible.
“The forecast places North Carolina in the bull's eye of Hurricane Florence, and the storm is rapidly getting stronger,” Gov. Cooper said in a press release. “When weather forecasters tell us “life threatening,” we know it’s serious. We are bracing for a hard hit.”
State emergency response as well as NC Department of Transportation are preparing for the storms.
“We are working closely with the National Hurricane Center and FEMA and our other partners and leveraging that wealth of experience to ensure we can respond to any need,” state Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry said. “We are also working closely with our county and SERT partners to ensure all resource requests are met. We ask the public to stay tuned to local forecasts and follow instructions from your local emergency officials and to have a plan for yourself and your family members, including your pets.”
North Carolinians are urged to use the next couple of days to get ready for the storm, including reviewing emergency plans and gathering supplies. People are also urged to be prepared for power outages.
For Western North Carolina, it’s still too early to know how the hurricane will impact the region, although one potential impact is an increase of people in the area who are escaping the storms along the coast and eastern part of the Carolina.
Local Yokel Weather, based in Cullowhee, posted on Sunday that WNC could be in the “subsidence region of the system, which could mean less rainfall or track further south and west could put in the divergence region, translating to high amounts of rainfall for the escarpment in particular.”
More will be updated at localyokelweather.com on Tuesday.
Heavy rainfall later in the week could equate to flooding and even landslides, as thunderstorms are already in the forecast for the first part of the week.
Ahead of the storm, WNC residents should consider stocking up their emergency kits. For tips, visit readync.org.