Hurricane Florence has triggered more than 1,000 flight cancellations and airport closures in both North and South Carolina, which are bracing for the impact of Hurricane Florence. The storm, which is predicted to touch down in the United States on Friday, will hit the border of the two states, according to the National Hurricane Centre. Hurricane warnings and tropical storm warnings have been issued along the east coast, with the NHC noting that “hurricane-force winds [are] getting closer to the North Carolina outer banks and coastal southeastern North Carolina.”
Though due to touch down tomorrow, the storm’s force is already being felt and in preparation, everybody in Wilmington NC is under a voluntary evacuation order, with places closer to the water being under a mandatory one, including Wrightsville Beach.
American Airlines, Delta and Southwestern have all announced they are cancelling flights in and out of the Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham airports in North Carolina and the Richmond and Norfolk airports in Virginia. Other airports in the eastern seaboard region are also expected to shut down, including Greenville, Jacksonville, New Bern and Wilmington in North Carolina; in South Carolina, Myrtle Beach, Columbia and Florence are expected to close.
Delta has announced it will cap fares for some coastal and inland airports between Savannah, Georgia and Richmond, Virginia. The airline has added more than 1,000 seats to these key routes so more people are able to evacuate and will continue to provide the same capacity during the recovery period after the storm. JetBlue, United and American airlines have all also announced that they will be either putting a cap on the remaining seats available or reducing the price of tickets in this region in an attempt to help people evacuate the area.
On Thursday Florence weakened to a Category 2 hurricane, but still is causing winds of up to 105 mph and could cause a storm surge of up to 13 feet along the shore of North Carolina. You shouldn’t be fooled by the category of the storm which only represents the speed of the winds, however — Florence is dangerous because of the life-threatening storm surges, flooding and historic rainfall levels expected.
When flooding happens, it makes the soil in the area much softer and causes trees to come down easier.
More than a million people have been ordered to evacuate, with 6,700 staying in 127 different Red Cross and community shelters in the three states, according to CNN. There’s a list of available shelters in the area that the North Carolina Department of Safety is providing, and the government is urging people to contact 2-1-1 or use the ReadyNC app to check shelter capacity.