Trump says 'protection of life is the absolute highest priority' as Hurricane Florence heads toward East Coast

Jake Baker  ·  September 13, 2018  ·  Featured, U.S. News, Weather


President Trump on Wednesday said that as Hurricane Florence makes its way toward the U.S., "protection of life is the absolute highest priority."

The hurricane, according to the president, will be "one of the biggest to ever hit the East Coast, one of the biggest to ever hit our country."

More than 10 million people were under storm watches and warnings on Wednesday as Hurricane Florence — described as “the storm of a lifetime” — continued to drive its way to the East Coast.

Sand bags surround homes on North Topsail Beach, N.C., Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, as Hurricane Florence threatens the coast. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Hours after being downgraded to a Category 3 storm, Florence was located 385 miles from Wilmington, North Carolina and moving at 120 mph, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its 5 p.m. advisory.

North and South Carolina, along with Virginia, Maryland and Georgia, remain under states of emergency ahead of the “Mike Tyson punch” of a storm’s expected landfall in the U.S. later this week.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator Jeff Byard warned that despite its slight weakening, Florence will still be an extremely dangerous hurricane.

“Do you want to get hit with a train or do you want to get hit with a cement truck,” Byard asked.

An estimated 5.25 million people remained under hurricane watches and warnings on Wednesday evening, while another 4.89 million were under tropical storm watches and warnings.

While Florence was slightly reduced in strength earlier from 140 mph winds, meteorologists expect the hurricane to jump back to a Category 4 by Thursday morning. Forecasters predict the storm will make landfall Thursday night or sometime on Friday.

In addition to the hurricane-strength winds blowing ashore Friday, Florence has the potential to bring a storm surge upwards of 6 feet in parts of the coastline including up to 13 feet from Cape Fear north to Cape Lookout.

The hurricane could also produce heavy and excessive rainfall — up to 40 inches in isolated areas in the Carolinas and anywhere between 6 to 12 inches elsewhere in the Appalachians and Mid-Atlantic region.

It will also pass directly over two nuclear power plants — the Brunswick Nuclear Plant, which is located 30 miles south of Wilmington, as well as the Shearon Harris Nuclear Plant in New Hill, about 23 miles from Raleigh.

The National Weather Service said Hurricane Florence will likely be “the storm of a lifetime” for portions of the Carolina coast.

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South Carolina, President Trump, NOrth Carolina, Hurricne Florence, Protection of LIfe, Preparation

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