The Latest: Florence to hit land as extremely powerful storm


Associated Press



RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on Hurricanes Florence and Isaac (all times local):

10:55 a.m.

Forecasters say Florence will arrive on land as an extremely dangerous major hurricane by the end of the week.

According to the National Hurricane Center, Florence has maximum sustained winds near 130 mph (215 kph). By 11 a.m. Tuesday, Florence was centered about 905 miles (1,455 kilometers) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, and moving west-northwest at 16 mph (25 kph). Its center will move between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday, then approach the coast of South Carolina or North Carolina.

Two other storms are spinning in the Atlantic as the 2018 hurricane season peaks: Tropical Storm Isaac is approaching the Caribbean, while Hurricane Helene is no threat to land over waters. As Isaac approaches the Caribbean, hurricane watches are in effect for Guadeloupe, Martinique and Dominica, while a tropical storm watch was issued for Antigua and Montserrat.

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10:50 a.m.

The Navy has authorized an emergency evacuation order ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence.

Rear Adm. Charles Rock is commander of Navy Region Mid-Atlantic. He said in a statement Tuesday that the safety of personnel and families is his top priority now.

The order follows Virginia’s evacuation order and remains in effect until Sept. 16. So far, state officials’ tiered system only requires residents of the most flood-prone areas, known as “Zone A,” to leave their homes.

The Navy’s order applies to Navy and civilian personnel, dependents of active-duty service members and reservists on active duty living in Hampton Roads and Zone A.

The Navy says Region Mid-Atlantic evacuees are authorized to proceed within 500 miles (805 kilometers) of the designated remote safe haven area of Asheville, North Carolina. Others should head to the remote safe haven area designated by their parent chain of command.

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10:50 a.m.

The Virginia Department of Corrections has evacuated inmates from a coastal prison as Hurricane Florence approaches the East Coast.

The department said in a statement Tuesday that the Indian Creek Correctional Center in Chesapeake was evacuated Monday night after Gov. Ralph Northam issued a mandatory evacuation order for some of the state’s lowest-lying coastal areas. The medium-security facility provides treatment programs for substance-abusing offenders.

The department also says all visitation statewide is canceled for Saturday and Sunday.

The National Hurricane Center says Florence is expected to approach the coast of North or South Carolina on Thursday, but Virginia is also under a state of emergency. Officials say the state is expecting a coastal storm surge, high wind, inland flooding and widespread power outages.

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10:50 a.m.

The Democrat running to be South Carolina’s next governor has been called up for guard duty as the state prepares for the arrival of Hurricane Florence.

Campaign spokesman Brad Warthen tells The Associated Press that James Smith has been activated as part of his service as a major in the South Carolina Army National Guard.

Warthen didn’t know specifically where Smith had been stationed, but the Army says guardsmen typically help when traffic patterns are altered for evacuations.

Gov. Henry McMaster has ordered the evacuation of South Carolina’s coastline. State troopers are clearing eastbound lanes of Interstate 26 so that they could be reversed later Tuesday.

Smith is challenging McMaster in this fall’s election. On Monday, both candidates suspended their campaigns as the state gets ready for the storm.

The Army says the South Carolina National Guard has mobilized about 1,600 soldiers and airmen to prepare for Hurricane Florence.

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10:30 a.m.

National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham is warning that the “staggering” size of Florence means its impacts will be felt far and wide.

Forecasters say hurricane-force winds extend up to 40 miles from the center of Hurricane Florence, and tropical storm-force winds reach up to 150 miles from its eye.

That means the hurricane will be dumping rain over multiple East Coast states, and it’s not just a coastal problem. With torrential rains in the Appalachian mountains, that water could easily cause flash floods.

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10:20 a.m.

President Donald Trump is canceling a campaign rally in advance of Hurricane Florence’s landfall.

His campaign says it’s canceling a Thursday event in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, where he had been scheduled to stump for the Republican senate candidate, state attorney general Josh Hawley.

The campaign said the event was scuttled out of safety concerns. It was the second rally Trump cancelled this week due to the storm, following a Friday rally slated for Mississippi.

The massive hurricane is closing in on the Carolinas and Virginia and could cause disastrous weather as far as Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Associated Press