IND - Hurricane Florence live - Live coverage - The Independent

IND - Hurricane Florence live

    Here is a report from our own Clark Mindock who has is in North Carolina.
    9/13/2018 1:27:00 AM
    9/13/2018 1:04:03 AM

    Hurricane Florence poses a deadly threat to a wide stretch of the US Eastern Seaboard, from southern Georgia into southern Virginia, capable of unleashing rain-fuelled catastrophic flooding of rivers and low-lying areas.

    Although its peak winds diminished on Wednesday, forecasters said the storm's total energy grew as its inner core and outlying bands of wind expanded.

    "The time to prepare is almost over," North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference. "Disaster is at the doorstep and it's coming in."

    9/13/2018 12:40:03 AM

    The mayor of Myrtle Beach in South Carolina Brenda Bethune has issued a curfew from 10pm ET Wednesday to 6am Thursday as Hurricane Florence approaches.

    A second curfew will also be issued from 7pm ET Thursday to 7am ET Friday, she said.

    9/13/2018 12:20:03 AM
    9/13/2018 12:00:51 AM
    9/12/2018 11:40:51 PM

    Nearly one million people are estimated to be in evacuation zones in North Carolina, according to Governor Roy Cooper.

    State officials said between 4,000 and 5,000 evacuees are already using shelters throughout the state.

    9/12/2018 11:20:16 PM
    9/12/2018 11:00:16 PM

    The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) ahead of Hurricane Florence

    The EOC will be open 24 hours day and seven days a week to respond to public health needs before, during and after Hurricane Florence. 

    9/12/2018 10:40:16 PM

    President Trump spoke with Georgia Governor Nathan Deal today about storm preparations ahead of Hurricane Florence.

    "The President spoke with Gov. Deal (GA) earlier this afternoon and let him know the federal government and the team at FEMA are here to help with anything they need. The President has received regular updates throughout the day and we continue to monitor the storm activity around the country."
    9/12/2018 10:20:16 PM
  • Chris Pennington was boarding up the windows of his Myrtle Beach house on Wednesday morning after seeing the latest National Hurricane Center forecast bringing Florence inland nearly over his home about a half-mile from the ocean. 

    He planned to stay before and was still leaning that way, but said he will be checking the weather keenly for the next 24 hours. 

    "I have until Thursday afternoon to leave, I think," Mr Pennington said. "In 12 or 18 hours, they may be saying different things all over again." 

    Mr Pennington said there are two big draws to staying: His wife can be available to help if needed at the local animal hospital where she works and he doesn't have to wait to return home inside the evacuation zone. 

    "It's terrible trying to get back," Mr Pennington said. 
    9/12/2018 9:56:13 PM
  • The National Hurricane Center has said although the storm is expected to weaken beginning late tomorrow, Florence should still be considered extremely dangerous.
    9/12/2018 8:55:30 PM
  • Help is already on its way for the estimated100,000 people who will need immediate assistance in the wake of Florence. The Red Cross reported it is sending thousands of volunteers to the region, but asked for donations as a form of help rather than goods. 
    Orange County, California, has also deployed two teams of swift-water rescue crews, part of four teams heading to North Carolina from the west coast. 


    9/12/2018 8:52:24 PM
  • Several federal courthouses in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia are closed "until further notice" awaiting Florence. 
    9/12/2018 8:48:17 PM
  • Watch The Independent's latest report from the North Carolina beach, where Florence is expected to make landfall in the coming days: 
    9/12/2018 8:41:19 PM
    UCS said both the Surry and Brunswick plants had reported issues with flood barriers in the past and past reports from the Commission showed both rated poorly in terms of withstanding heavy rain or strong winds. 
    Edwin Lyman, a senior scientist with the UCS Global Security team, said in a statement: “Nuclear plants are safe from flooding if plant operators properly install protective measures and designers accurately forecast flooding hazards. Falling short on either requirement would make a nuclear plant more vulnerable to floods, which could lead to a meltdown.”
    9/12/2018 8:12:51 PM
    Two nuclear power plants are in the path of Florence, which despite being downgraded to a Category 3 storm is still dangerous due to heavy rain and flooding. 
    The Brunswick plane near Wilmington, North Carolina, and Surry plant in Williamsburg, Virginia, are particularly vulnerable to hurricane winds and flooding according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. 
    Dave Lochbaum, director of the organisation's nuclear safety project, noted in a statement: “We don’t have a clear picture of either plant’s vulnerabilities because the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has withheld key flood protection preparedness reports it required in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster, where flooding caused three reactor core meltdowns". 
    A massive earthquake in Japan had caused a tsunami, which then flooded the plant and forced an evacuation of the surrounding area. 
    9/12/2018 8:08:00 PM
    Besides obvious infrastructure damage and the risks to public health, storms like Florence have the potential to derail local economies - particularly tourism. 
    The Outer Banks, a chain of islands off the North Carolina coast popular for holidays, could have fared worse had Florence hit during the three-day, Labour Day weekend rush. 
    However Michael Walden, an economist at North Carolina State University, told the Associated Press the state economy will still take a hit. He calculated Florence will deduct about $200m (£153m) of output a day from North Carolina's annual $550bn (£422bn) economy until business returns to something close to normal. 
    "The ironic thing is, when there's a rebuilding effort, that can energize local economies," Mr Walden said, noting construction and infrastructure improvements will add to the economy once federal aid money rolls in.
    9/12/2018 7:46:51 PM

    As evacuations continue, storm preparation further inland has left store shelves barren. 

    The Independent's latest report from Fayetteville, North Carolina: 


    9/12/2018 6:58:51 PM
    Despite the downgrade, meteorologist Eric Holthaus said the "threat has actually grown" as Florence has increased in size. 
    9/12/2018 6:42:28 PM

    Hurricane Florence has now been downgraded to a Category 3 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale.

    However the National Hurricane Center warned it could still be life-threatening because of the storm surge rainfall and subsequent flooding. 

    The hurricane was about 470 miles (755 km) east-southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour (205 km/h).

    The NHC said Florence is still expected to hit North and South Carolina on Thursday. 

    9/12/2018 6:21:13 PM
    More from our correspondent from the scene of the storm path: Melissa Powell, a fifth grade teacher in Fayetteville, North Carolina, told The Independent she’s heading to Georgia with her two children to be with her mother-in-law.
    Her husband, Bryan, is staying behind with elderly members of the family's church who do not have an option to evacuate. 
    Ms Powell is not too worried about her husband though. She said "he’s awesome. He’ll take care of himself. He prefers to know we’re OK”. 

    Ms Powell, on the other hand, remembers the horror of seeing her house — which was not in an identified flood zone previously — flooding during Hurricane Matthew in 2016. 

    “It was bad. We watched all the floodwater. It was scary,” she said.
    9/12/2018 5:30:26 PM
    First Lady Melania Trump has tweeted, urging residents to "be sure you are listening to local officials". 
    Donald Trump has been criticised for his response to Florence after he said the US government and Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico last year - the deadliest storm in US history during which nearly 3,000 people died - was "incredibly successful". 
    Read more about our coverage of Hurricane Maria here and our continued coverage of Florence
    9/12/2018 5:12:04 PM
    Another concern in storm evacuations are pet-friendly shelters and people being unable to transport pets with them, sometimes reluctantly having to leave them behind. 
    The Independent spoke with one resident in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Kevin Lynn who said he actually is not particularly worried about the storm's effects inland. 
    Mr Lynn will be waiting out Florence in his parents house along with his dog and said though his companion is "terrified of lightening" he will not being doing anything special to keep him safe. 
    "My pet is an inside dog," he said, suggesting his dog will be fine as long he does not try to go outside in the storm. 
    A local ABC News affiliate has posted a list of pet-friendly shelters here: 
    9/12/2018 4:56:55 PM
    Georgia's Governor Nathan Deal has also declared a state of emergency in his state as Florence's path appeared to shift south.
    "In light of the storm’s forecasted southward track after making landfall, I encourage Georgians to be prepared for the inland effects of the storm as well as the ensuing storm surge in coastal areas," Mr Deal said in a statement. 
    9/12/2018 4:49:03 PM
    Several airports in the storm's path have closed and Charleston International Airport in South Carolina announced it would remain closed from late tonight until the storm's brunt is expected to pass on Friday. 
    9/12/2018 4:46:00 PM
    Once again the National Weather Service warns of "catastrophic flooding". Those sheltering in place near the coasts of the Carolinas are putting themselves at risk from the rain brought on by the storm, not just wind damage, officials have said. 
    9/12/2018 4:41:19 PM
    The Independent is reporting from the storm zone bringing you updates about Hurricane Florence from the scene.
    Today, in Fayetteville, North Carolina, a Home Depot sales associate told us the store sold nearly 60 generators in the last few days - the cost of each coming in at just under $700 (£537). 
    But, while the store is pushing generators like they’re iPhones on an Apple unveiling date, Steven Boykin said that his customers have been keeping their cool.

    “It’s been very calm and easy. You have a couple customers who’ve been agitated,” Mr Boykin said, adding he had already personally prepared for Florence before coming into work on Wednesday.
    9/12/2018 4:26:49 PM
    The National Hurricane Center has issued "key messages" bulletin regarding Florence in which the phrase "life-threatening" is used multiple times. Emergency officials have warned residents and travellers in the path of the storm, today is likely their last chance to evacuate coastal areas of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland. 
    9/12/2018 4:16:08 PM
    Wild animals at zoos in the path of Florence are going to have ride out the storm where they are, zoo officials have warned
    That includes the lions, tigers and giraffes at the Virginia Zoo, and the more than 100 dogs and cats at the SPCA shelter in northeastern North Carolina, ABC News reports. “I am planning for the worst and hoping for the best,” said Judy Anthony, the manager of the SPCA shelter in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.
    9/12/2018 4:00:36 PM
    The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Wednesday said is sending additional inspectors to plants in North and South Carolina and is activating its regional incident response center in Atlanta, to provide around-the-clock staff support during the storm. 
    The NRC said Duke Energy's Brunswick nuclear plant south of Wilmington, North Carolina, could face hurricane-force winds, major storm surges and heavy rain, according to the Associated Press. 
    Duke said it has a procedure to begin shutting down plants at least two hours before the arrival of hurricane-force winds. Duke also operates three nuclear plants in South Carolina, though none are on the coast. 
    9/12/2018 3:45:10 PM
    The Environmental Protection Agency has been assessing the vulnerability of at least 9 toxic sites in Florence's projected path. This was a huge issue last year when Hurricane Harvey brought massive, record flooding to Houston and other parts of Texas.
    9/12/2018 3:33:02 PM
    Forecasters say Hurricane Florence is generating enormous waves, as high as 83 feet (25 metres) as it makes its way toward the East Coast.
    The National Hurricane Centre says the waves were measured by satellite.
    The huge waves are being produced because currents are trapped by very strong winds moving in the same direction the storm's motion. The centre's Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch is tweeting about the phenomenon.
    The center of the storm is about 485 miles (785 kilometers) out to sea, with tropical-storm-force winds extending outward up to 175 miles 
    9/12/2018 3:17:09 PM
    Forecasters have said that Florence's wind field is expanding, making it a large, stable hurricane with a clearly defined eye at its centre. 
    National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham warned that a slight shift in Florence's forecast track does not mean that some communities north of the storm are now in the clear, the Associated Press said.
    The “cone of error” in the forecast track only predicts where the storm's centre might go, and even on its edges, winds can push a powerful storm surge into shore dozens of miles from where Florence's eyewall strikes land. 
    Mr Graham said: “Just because you have a landfall to your south doesn't mean you're out of the woods, because the winds are huge around this system.”
    9/12/2018 3:08:13 PM
    9/12/2018 2:54:38 PM
    The latest update from the National Hurricane Centre is that Hurricane Florence is currently 520 miles east-southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with maximum sustained speeds of 130mph.
    9/12/2018 2:50:36 PM
    Mr Cooper also said ahead of Hurricane Florence, some prisons and jails have been evacuated, state parks, museums and many public schools are closed, and more than 2800 National Guard soldiers will be on active duty in the state by 7pm today.
    9/12/2018 2:37:33 PM
    9/12/2018 2:23:25 PM
    Mr Cooper said he had deployed hundreds more National Guard soldiers to report for duty as Category 4 Hurricane Florence approaches
    9/12/2018 2:11:53 PM
    'Every country and every person in North Carolina needs to stay alert and take this storm seriously'
    9/12/2018 2:07:28 PM
    North Carolina governor Roy Cooper is now holding his own briefing. “North Carolina, my message is clear. Disaster is at the doorstep, and it's coming in."
    9/12/2018 2:06:44 PM
    Hospitals in the Carolinas are stockpiling medicines and other supplies, and testing back-up generators as they brace for the impact of Hurricane Florence.
    "Hurricane preparedness is something we live with every year. We are always in preparation mode," Amy Stevens, vice president of marketing and communications at Tidelands Health, a three-hospital group with 50 outpatient centres in South Carolina, told Modern Healthcare.
    Some facilities, including the New Hanover Regional Medical Centre trauma unit, are moving patients to safer ground, the magazine reported.
    Facilities in several counties were under mandatory medical evacuation orders issued by state governor Henry McMaster.
    9/12/2018 1:46:14 PM
    Mr Byard said: 'This is not going to be a glancing blow. It's going to be a Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast'
    9/12/2018 1:40:13 PM
    Mr Byard was asked about Mr Trump's claim that the administration's response in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria last year had been an "unsung success". Up to 3,000 died and Mr Trump was criticised for his comments. Mr Byard said they were aiming for zero deaths.
    9/12/2018 1:38:40 PM
    "We have plenty of resources to respond," he said. "We have plenty of resources to recover. That has not impacted our ability whatsoever."
    9/12/2018 1:33:33 PM
    Jeff Byard, associate administrator for the Office of Response and Recovery, was asked about a CNN story that revealed nearly $10m from FEMA to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
    9/12/2018 1:32:33 PM
    9/12/2018 1:29:48 PM
    The Federal Emergency Management Agency and other officials are currently briefing reporters in Washington DC. It's warning that hurricane force conditions are expected to last for 24 hours once Florence strikes the Carolina coast.
    9/12/2018 1:28:49 PM
    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is evaluating the potential vulnerability of nine toxic sites that lie in the path of Hurricane Florence, it has been reported.
    There is a threat of toxic chemicals being released from the so-called Superfund sites along the coasts of North and South Carolina, CNN reported.
    The broadcaster cited an EPA spokesman as saying the agency was "closely monitoring the projected path" of the storm and that officials were planning their response.
    A Superfund site is any area of land contaminated by hazardous material that the EPA deems it necessary to clean up. Once designated or proposed as a Superfund site, the areas are placed on a national priorities list.
    9/12/2018 1:21:35 PM
    Farmers in the path of the storm are racing to bring in their harvests before Florence arrives.
    North Carolina corn farmer Darren Armstrong told Bloomberg News he was scrambling ahead of what may be the worst storm in 64 years hits the state. His family began harvesting their 4,500 acres in mid-August, a couple of weeks late because wet weather had delayed planting. “We’re trying to finish,” he told the news service. “We are probably not going to make it.”
    By the time the rain starts, roughly three-quarters of his corn should be harvested. Another 700 to 1,000 acres may be left standing, exposed to the belting wind and rain.
    9/12/2018 1:20:17 PM
    Flooding from Hurricane Harvey in 2017, in a neighbourhood near Addicks Reservoir, Texas (AP)
    Experts have warned that Hurricane Florence will be an "incredibly dangerous" storm that will "test" the resilience of US infrastructure.

    And if similar storms continue to lash the coastal US, relocating the population may be necessary to avoid costly and repeated evacuations, they claim.
    Professor Daniel Horton, of Northwestern University's climate change research group, said: "From a meteorological standpoint, this looks to be an incredibly dangerous and impactful storm. Due to forecasted stalling, both residents on the coast and inland should take the warnings very seriously.
    "The storm is currently forecasted to stall out inland. The danger with a stalled tropical cyclone is that it is going to rain in place and rain hard – similar to Hurricane Harvey, which stalled in Houston and produced unprecedented rainfall accumulations.
    "The Carolinas, unlike the Houston area, have mountains to the west, so rainfall will be enhanced over the slopes and drain into the waterways of both North and South Carolina – areas that will have already been soaked by the landfalling storm.
    "The accumulated water is likely to lead to substantial and dangerous flooding conditions inland and along the coast."
    Prof Joseph Schofer, of the same university's engineering department, added: "The hurricane is nature testing our defenses. We’ll learn about our infrastructure’s resilience.
    "Particularly vulnerable are low-lying roads, bridges, from flooding and scour, traffic control devices and water supply and wastewater treatment facilities. 
    "Evacuation is an essential, immediate response, but if and as these storms grow in frequency and intensity, it gets terribly costly to evacuate repeatedly. The solution would be to harden infrastructure or relocate."
    9/12/2018 1:02:13 PM
    Meanwhile the National Weather Service has tweeted that today is the last day to prepare for the storm.
    It said strong winds are expected as early as Thursday morning along the SC/NC coasts.
    It said: 'We have two requests for our followers: 1) Share this message. 2) Show/tell us how you're preparing.'
    9/12/2018 12:51:11 PM
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