Two powerful storms are threatening lives and livelihoods this week on opposite ends of the earth — Hurricane Florence, forecast to bombard the Carolinas in the United States with wind and rain, and Typhoon Mangkhut, which has whipped up 150-mile-an-hour winds on its way toward the Philippines.
A threat to the breadbasket of the Philippines
Thousands of people started evacuating from the northern Philippines on Thursday ahead of the projected Saturday landfall of Typhoon Mangkhut in Luzon, the largest and most populous island in the Philippines. Track the storm’s location as it approaches.
The storm was expected to hit a region considered to be the country’s breadbasket, raising concerns that an agricultural sector already devastated by a series of typhoons would be pummeled once again, right at the beginning of the corn and rice harvest.
Curious why Mangkhut is called a typhoon while Florence is called a hurricane? It’s all about location.
Florence, a ‘monster’ of a storm
The first drips of Hurricane Florence had begun to fall over North Carolina on Thursday morning, with some areas forecast to be deluged by up to 40 inches of rain. Residents fear the flooding that may occur, even in inland areas, and the storm’s winds had already begun lashing the Outer Banks.
For the latest, check out Thursday live updates and maps tracking the storm. (Florence was a Category 4 storm as of early Wednesday, but had been downgraded to Category 1 by Thursday evening. Here’s what the categories mean.)
Thousands of people have taken shelter in South Carolina. But despite warnings from Gov. Roy Cooper against riding out what he called a “monster” storm, some North Carolinians — like Skippy Winner, an 84-year-old retired sea captain — planned to stay put. “I’m gonna be just fine, so let ’er blow,” he said. In addition, some inmates have not been moved.
Part of the reason that people ignore such warnings is that forecasts and risks are not always communicated well to the public, experts said. Here are three dangerous hurricane misconceptions that scientists want to clear up.
Like Hurricane Harvey last year, Florence was expected to forge ahead slowly, exacerbating its impact. Those storms aren’t alone: Researchers say that tropical cyclones, which include hurricanes, have become slower since the mid-1900s.
The recovery will pose a formidable test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency and President Trump, who oversaw a lackluster response to the hurricane that devastated Puerto Rico last year. On Thursday, Mr. Trump falsely accused Democrats of inflating the death toll from that storm, rejecting the official government estimate that it had claimed nearly 3,000 lives. Here’s how that estimate was compiled.
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The damage may also be magnified by policies in North Carolina that minimized climate change and allowed development in coastal areas vulnerable to such storms.
Some of the areas most threatened by Florence were once mainly or almost exclusively home to African-Americans. Many black residents have long since moved away as their communities were targeted for displacement, but some pockets remain.
News reports about the storm may be laden with words like landfall, eyewall and flood plain. Here’s a guide to what the terms mean and here are some answers to reader questions about the science of forecasting hurricanes.
A dozen hurricanes have hit North Carolina since Hurricane Hazel made landfall as a Category 4 storm in 1954, but none have been as severe. Read more about that storm.
Here are some tips for travelers affected by the storm and how to use technology to your advantage. Read our guide to preparing for Florence and other hurricanes, and get advice directly from readers who are in the storm’s path.