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Athens prepares for Hurricane Florence, statewide emergency declared

16 September 2018

"Bad things can happen when you are talking about a storm this size".

As of 2 p.m. EDT today (Sept. 12), Florence was a Category 3 hurricane with winds of 125 mph (205 km/h) at its location about 435 miles (700 kilometers) southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

While many coastal residents heeded mandatory evacuation orders, others boarded up homes and businesses and chose to courageous the storm, which is forecast to trigger severe flash flooding as it dumps as many as three feet (almost a meter) of rain in some areas.

Slower hurricanes - such as Hurricane Harvey - can dump more rain on an area before moving on, adding to their destructive power.

The footage was captured by one of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s Hurricane Hunters, planes given whimsical nicknames that chase down storms - "Kermit" and "Miss Piggy".

Experts predict that the storm could bring rainfall up to 40 inches and up to 13 feet of floodwater in some areas.

The National Weather Service, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and both the governors of North and SC have warned that the storm could be extremely risky and mandatory evacuations are underway in many parts of the Carolinas.

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"This is not going to be a glancing blow", Byard said at a press conference in Washington, warning of power outages, road closures, damage to infrastructure and potential loss of life.

The hurricane is about 470 miles (755km) east-southeast of Myrtle beach, SC with maximum sustained winds of 125mph (205km/h).

So even as better construction methods have reduced the wind damage in many places - especially Florida, where Hurricane Andrew in 1992 inspired an overhaul of building codes - storm surge and flooding have taken over as the primary concern.

Hurricane Florence has gotten a little bit weaker but it remains a very large and unsafe storm.

"If I need to evacuate I can go to my son's house", Sparks said as he carted a load of water bottles to his auto. Some of these reactors - including Duke Energy's Brunswick and Harris nuclear plants in North Carolina and Dominion Energy's Surry plant in Virginia - may be directly in the hurricane's path, Reuters reported.

"Not much has changed since this morning", meteorologist Chris Fisher from the National Weather Service said. You never know, but we know.

However some residents have chose to board up their homes and ride out the storm.

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"Usually the north and east side [of the storm] is where we see the highest rainfall amounts and the greatest tornado threat".

"Hugo was a direct hit", he said. "We have everything. We're ready".

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned residents that time was running out to seek safety from what he called a "once in a lifetime" storm.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has ordered the mandatory evacuation of one million coastal residents while neighboring North Carolina ordered an evacuation of the Outer Banks, barrier islands that are a popular tourist destination, and parts of coastal Dare County.

And if that isn't enough, Subtropical Storm Joyce formed in the North Atlantic Tuesday afternoon, but it's not expected to hit the U.S. The system is expected to drift to the southwest in the coming days.

The NHC said Helene was weakening, however, and posed no danger to land.

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Athens prepares for Hurricane Florence, statewide emergency declared