Currently a category 4 storm, but expected to reach cat 5 before making landfall and weakening, Hurricane Florence is an impending disaster along the coast of the Carolinas. Catastrophic flooding and destructive winds are expected, as the storm reaches the outer banks and northern coast of South Carolina. The storm is expected to stall once it makes landfall this Thursday, dumping up to 30 inches of rain in places that don’t usually see flooding and storm surge damage; much like Hurricane Harvey over Houston in 2016. Over 1.5 million people have been ordered to evacuate out of the path of this destructive storm and, we cannot stress this enough, we hope that everyone in an area of possible damage complies.
As of 11 a.m., the storm’s top winds were maintained at 130 mph, but the storm is expected to increase in strength later through the day. It was moving in a west-northwest trajectory at 16 mph, located about 900 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear, N.C.
The Hurricane Center is calling the storm “extremely dangerous,” and predicts its maximum winds could still reach 150 mph at peak intensity, which is just 7 mph from Category 5. Some modest weakening may occur just before landfall, but Florence is predicted to come ashore as a strong Category 3 with 120 mph sustained winds. We hope to keep information flowing as to the impact of cargo, capacity, reroutes and other logistics concerns as they become available.
All Naval ships that can be moved have been taken out of the Port of Virginia according to NavyTimes.com – Adm. Christopher Grady, the commander of Norfolk-based U.S. Fleet Forces, ordered all Navy ships in the Hampton Roads area to set Sortie Condition Alpha, mandating all crews complete final preparations and begin sailing from their harbors on Monday. The ships are moved so that they can immediately return after the storm and begin rescue and rebuild operations in the impacted areas.
Please keep an eye on this blog as it will be updated as more information becomes available and again, we stress that anyone in a mandatory evacuation zone should absolutely comply with local authorities and services and evacuate as soon as possible. This storm is a serious concern and should be treated with grave importance. We wish everyone the best.