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TROPICAL WEATHER-THE LATEST
The Latest: Florence steadily making way to US East Coast
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) – A dangerous Hurricane Florence is steadily making its way to the U.S. East Coast.
At 5 a.m., the storm was centered 575 miles (925 km) southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, moving at 17 mph (28 kph). Strengthening is forecast through Wednesday.
It was a potentially catastrophic Category 4 storm but was expected to keep drawing energy from the warm water and intensify to near Category 5, which means winds of 157 mph (253 kph) or higher.
President Donald Trump declared states of emergency for North and South Carolina and Virginia, opening the way for federal aid.
TROPICAL WEATHER-RURAL TOWNS
Florence poses a new threat for rural, struggling towns
PRINCEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Monster Hurricane Florence is taking aim at parts of the Carolinas were many families struggle to get by, and who may lack the money to flee or recover after the damage is done.
The director of the Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute at the University of South Carolina says Florence’s predicted path means trouble for some of the poorest communities in the region. Susan Cutter says she fears there are a lot of people in low-lying, flood-prone areas who aren’t leaving because they had nowhere to go and no resources to get there.
Beaufort (BOW-fort) County along North Carolina’s Pamlico Sound is pressing school system buses into service Wednesday moving residents living in flood-prone areas to higher ground and the local high school that will shelter up to 500 people.
TROPICAL WEATHER-MILITARY BASES
East Coast military bases brace for Florence
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) – The Navy is moving people and ships ahead of Hurricane Florence , and the Air Force and Army are both flying advanced aircraft elsewhere as a safeguard. Some remaining Marines, meanwhile, are digging in their heels.
While thousands of Marines and their families have already left Camp Lejeune in Jacsksonville, North Carolina, the commanding general said Tuesday that anyone remaining at the base would have food, water and protection despite being in the projected path of the storm.
Some military families and others took to Camp Lejeune’s Facebook page, venting fears and questioning why there was no mandatory evacuation.
Nat Fahy, a spokesman for the command, said the base was the safest place for anyone who had not evacuated already. Shelters on the base are expected to open early Wednesday
TEEN’S BOSS THREATENED
Teen accused of holding boss at gunpoint over cash payment
(Information from: The Fayetteville Observer, http://www.fayobserver.com)
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina teenager is accused of holding his boss at gunpoint and demanding he be paid in cash.
The Fayetteville Observer reports 18-year-old Joshua Caleb Hunt is charged with kidnapping and discharging a firearm to cause fear. The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office says Hunt’s boss, Robert Lockamy, told authorities Hunt called out of work Friday and hadn’t picked up his paycheck.
Lockamy says Hunt entered the business Monday and began yelling. He says Hunt pulled out a gun and fired into the floor before demanding he be paid in cash. Lockamy says he told Hunt he didn’t have cash, but the check already was written. Authorities say Hunt then walked Lockamy at gunpoint to where the check was kept and took it.
It’s unclear if Hunt has a lawyer.
‘Not a pretty sight’: Hurricane Florence has experts worried
WASHINGTON (AP) – Experts say Hurricane Florence has all the makings of a monster storm.
That includes an unusual combination of other weather systems that are likely to stall Florence when it hits the Carolinas, allowing it to sit for days and dump huge amounts of rain.
A computer simulation known as the European model predicts some places could get 45 inches of rain. That is the same model that accurately predicted that last year’s Hurricane Harvey, which also stalled over land, would drop 60 inches.
Florence’s path remains uncertain. It may move a little north into Virginia or a little south into South Carolina. But it’s such a large storm that the rain will keep coming down in the region no matter where it wanders.
With the Appalachian Mountains to the west, experts worry there could be flooding and mudslides.
TROPICAL WEATHER-BARRIER ISLANDS
AP Explains: Why North Carolina is vulnerable to hurricanes
The immense power of Hurricane Florence could be especially damaging to North Carolina’s vulnerable coast, where vast amounts of new development now stand on the shifting sands of barrier islands amid the rising waters of climate change.
Experts said Tuesday that the combination of unwise development and climate change could make the storm North Carolina’s most destructive on record.
The state’s low-lying Outer Banks and other barrier islands are particularly vulnerable to being washed over from both sides by storm surges, and climate change is worsening the situation. Warmer waters increase the size and intensity of hurricanes. As sea levels rise, shorelines become more vulnerable.
And while barriers islands typically shift slowly toward the mainland, development is artificially holding them in place, making them more vulnerable.
TROPICAL WEATHER-TOXIC WATERS
Florence could flood hog manure pits, coal ash dumps
Hurricane Florence could cause an environmental disaster in North Carolina, where waste from hog manure pits, coal ash dumps and other industrial sites could wash into homes and threaten drinking water supplies.
Two decades ago, a Category 2 hurricane caused dozens of hog manure pits to flood as millions of gallons of untreated sewage spilled out. Florence is forecast to make landfall in the same region as a much stronger storm.
North Carolina has roughly 2,100 industrial-scale pork farms containing more than 9 million hogs.
The Environmental Protection Agency says it will be monitoring nine toxic waste cleanup sites.
Also of concern are more than two dozen massive coal ash pits operated by Duke Energy.
TROPICAL WEATHER-WILD HORSES
North Carolina’s wild horses know how to survive hurricane
North Carolina’s famous wild horses may live along some of the state’s most vulnerable coastline, but wildlife experts say the Outer Banks horses will instinctively know what to do when Hurricane Florence hits.
Sue Stuska is a wildlife biologist based at Cape Lookout National Seashore. She says the horses will find higher ground on sand dunes during flooding and head for shrub thickets and the forest during high winds.
Horse deaths during storms are not unheard of, however.
John Taggart is an associate professor emeritus who teaches environmental science at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. He says five wild horses drowned after they were swept off the Rachel Carson Reserve near Beaufort, North Carolina, during Hurricane Isabel in 2003.
But Taggart says that kind of loss is unusual during storms.