Hurricane Florence, on track to become the first Category 4 storm to make a direct hit on North Carolina in six decades, howled closer to shore on Wednesday, threatening to unleash pounding surf, days of torrential rain and severe flooding.
Packing maximum sustained winds of 140 miles per hour (225 km per hour), Florence’s trajectory showed its center most likely to strike the southern coast of North Carolina by Friday, the National Hurricane Center said.
The storm is expected to bring tropical storm-force winds, life-threatening storm surges of seawater and 35 inches (89 cm) of rain to parts of the Carolinas and Virginia, where intense inland flooding was expected, the center said.
“This is a life-threatening situation,” the center said in an early morning bulletin. “Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property.”
More than 1 million residents have been ordered to evacuate the coastline of the three states, while university campuses, schools and factories were being shuttered.
To hasten evacuations from coastal South Carolina, officials reversed the flow of traffic on some highways so all major roads led away from shore.
“This storm is a monster,” North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said. He cited forecasts showing Florence was likely to stall over North Carolina, “bringing days and days of rain.”
Fierce winds and massive waves are expected to lash the coasts of North and South Carolina and Virginia even before Florence makes landfall bringing a storm surge as much as 13 feet (4 meters), the National Hurricane Center in Miami warned. Catastrophic floods could follow if the storm stalls inland, it said.
The storm, a Category 4 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale, was expected to grow stronger and larger over the next few days, the NHC said.
The last Category 4 hurricane to plow directly into North Carolina was Hazel in 1954, a devastating storm that killed 19 people.
Communities could lose electricity for weeks, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Brock Long said.
Crews also prepared 16 nuclear reactors in the three-state region for the storm.
The American Red Cross said more than 700 workers were headed to the region while shelters were set up to house those unable to flee.
The U.S. Coast Guard closed ports in Wilmington and Morehead City, North Carolina and Hampton Roads, Virginia to inbound vessels greater than 500 tons and was requiring vessels of that size to leave if they did not have permission to be in the ports.
Residents prepared by boarding up their homes and stocking up on food, water and other essentials, stripping grocery store shelves of merchandise. Many gasoline stations were running low on fuel.
Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Andrew Heavens
5.0 earthquake strikes Ridgecrest, California — two months after 7.1
Two months after the 7.1 earthquakes that hit outside of Los Angeles, another more modest quake was detected, ABC-7 reported.
While the location of the quake was about 20 miles north of Ridgecrest, California, at the Naval Air Warfare Center China Lake. People as far away as Clark County, Nevada also felt the rumble Thursday afternoon.
It left several people asking if it was considered a foreshock or a really late aftershock from two months ago.
92% of HPV-caused cancers could be prevented by vaccine: health authority
An estimated 92% of cancers caused by HPV could be prevented through vaccination, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Thursday, adding that boosting immunization coverage was a key priority.
Human papillomavirus was responsible for an estimated yearly average of 34,800 cancer cases between 2012 and 2016, according to a new study published by the CDC, meaning that more than 32,100 cases could have been avoided annually.
The virus can lead to cancers in both men and women, including cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis, anus, and oropharynx (the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils).
New poll shows Republicans may get wiped out — in Mitch McConnell’s home state of Kentucky
This year, Republicans may be heading for a rough election in an unlikely state: Kentucky.
New internal Democratic polls reveal that the GOP is struggling in three critical Kentucky races taking place in November. In the gubernatorial race, incumbent GOP Gov. Matt Bevin is trailing Democratic Attorney General Steve Beshear 48 to 39.
Further down the ballot, the GOP is also vulnerable. In the attorney general race to replace Beshear, former Democratic state House Speaker Greg Stumbo is ahead 46 to 39 against Republican Daniel Cameron, the former legal counsel to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. And in the secretary of state race, where incumbent Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is retiring, Democratic former Second Lady of Kentucky and Miss America 2000 pageant winner Heather French Henry leads GOP former Justice Department lawyer Michael Adams 52 to 37.