Knowing about the category of the hurricane might determine damage and potential loss of life

Hurricane loto

By Hannah Lester, SizingUpTheSouth.com hurricane coverage team member, senior at Auburn University, and reporter for the Auburn Plainsman.

As citizens prepare for Hurricane Florence in North and South Carolina, broadcast news meteorologists are working to bring updated news on the passage of the storm.

“Satellite images and surface observations indicate that the area of disturbed weather located over the extreme northwestern Caribbean Sea and the southeastern Gulf of Mexico is gradually becoming better organized,” The National Hurricane Center said on its website.

Category of hurricanes art

Becoming organized indicates that Hurricane Florence could develop from a Category 4 to Category 5 hurricane.

Categories 4 and 5 hurricanes differ in strength and sustainability. Both categories are labeled as major hurricanes, though Category 4 hurricanes have winds of 130-156 mph, while Category 5 hurricanes are 157 mph or higher. 

The National Hurricane Service said that in a Category 4 hurricane, framed homes can have roof damage or loss, and trees will be uprooted. Power outages can last up to months, and re-entry into homes and businesses will be prolonged. In a Category 5 hurricane, many homes will be destroyed in addition to other issues.

News footage from 1989 from WCSC-TV Live 5 in Charleston, South Carolina, when Hurricane Hugo hit on Sept. 21, 1989, affecting 1.8 million people. Hugo was a Category 4 hurricane with 140 mph sustained winds. YouTube video

If a Category 4 hits the South Carolina Coast, framed homes can have roof damage or loss, and trees will be uprooted. Power outages can last up to months, and re-entry into homes and businesses will be prolonged. – National Weather Service 

If a CATEGORY 5 hurricane hits the South Carolina Coast, ““People, livestock, and pets are at very high risk of injury or death from flying or falling debris … A high percentage of frame homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse.” – National Weather Service 

“People, livestock, and pets are at very high risk of injury or death from flying or falling debris, even if indoors in mobile homes or framed homes,” The National Weather Service said. “Almost complete destruction of all mobile homes will occur, regardless of age or construction. A high percentage of frame homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Extensive damage to roof covers, windows, and doors will occur. Large amounts of wind borne debris will be lofted into the air.”

Ed Prowski with logo

Ed Piotrowski is chief meteorologist from WDPE Channel 15. His coverage area is in the direct path of Hurricane Florence when it hits landfall. WDPE photo

Ed Piotrowski is chief meteorologist at WDPE- TV ABC 15, located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

“#Florence is in the process of getting better organized and could reach category 5 strength at some point later today or tomorrow. #scwx #ncwx,” he Tweeted.

While Myrtle Beach is close to the coastline, areas like Charolette, North Carolina, are also at risk of Hurricane Florence.

The National Weather Service has released information concerning Charleston, North Carolina. Those in this area should prepare for dangerous winds as well as life threatening storm surging.

Brad Panovich is chief meteorologist for WCNC in Charolette, North Carolina.

“This will be a devastating storm for the Carolinas.” Panovich shared on Facebook at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 11. “Areas well inland the worst will be after landfall as the system stalls and drifts inland. The flood threat is still off the charts for the eastern and central part of the state, and that threat could spread west very easily.”

The National Hurricane Center indicates Florence has increased in size.

“Life-threatening, catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding is possible over portions of the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic states from late this week into early next week, as Florence is expected to slow down as it approaches the Coast and moves inland,” The National Hurricane Center said on its website.

Citizens should be preparing for Hurricane Florence with mandatory evacuations in effect in some areas.

Hugo 1

Hurricane Hugo hit the South Carolina coast as a Category 4 hurricane leaving homes and businesses shattered after the Sept. 21, 1989 landfall. Supplied photo

“This is likely to be the strongest hurricane to strike the Carolina coastline since 1989 and Hurricane Hugo,” said David Baxley, SPJ South Carolina president, meteorologist and columnist for SizingUpTheSouth.com.

“There’s some other issues inland that people should worry about, and that would be from flooding.” – David Baxley

Baxley has evacuated from his home in South Carolina to Alabama due to the severity of the storm.

David Baxley causal

David Baxley

“There’s some other issues inland that people should worry about, and that would be from flooding,” Baxley said, “Because there’s some chance, besides the wind that comes with an actual hurricane, it could slow down and the storm may try its best to either head back down toward South Carolina and stall, or it may head up the North Carolina and then produce like 15 – 20 inches of rain.”

Baxley said he does not think the people of the Carolinas are prepared for the oncoming hurricane, especially in small towns like Dillon, South Carolina. Floods can affect these smaller communities despite the track of the hurricane.

“The people are not ready, those folks have not even prepared because they haven’t even fixed everything from the last hurricane.” he said. 

Hannah Lester photo

Hannah Lester

Hannah Lester is a senior studying journalism at Auburn University and is graduating in May 2019. She writes for the Auburn Plainsman newspaper as well as Auburn Glomerata and worked as an intern for Edible Nashville the summer of 2018. Lester is originally from Birmingham, Alabama. 

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Website: SPJSouthCarolina.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SPJSCarolina

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SPJSCarolina

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SPJ Region 3 Website: SizingUpTheSouth.com

SPJ Region 3 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/spjregion3

SPJ Region 3 Twitter: https://twitter.com/spj_3

 

 

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