Thousands ordered evacuated ahead of Hurricane Florence, Gray Man Sighting

Thousands ordered evacuated ahead of Hurricane Florence, Gray Man Sighting

A coastal North Carolina county on Monday issued a mandatory evacuation order for its entire population as a Hurricane Florence strengthened to a Category 4 storm and continued its slow but angry dance toward the U.S. East Coast.

Hurricane Florence is now a major hurricane. As of the 12 p.m. update, the storm strengthened into a Category 4 hurricane.

The latest measurement of Hurricane Florence show maximum sustained winds of 130 mph, up from 105 mph early Monday.

July of this year at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina visitors took a picture of what is believed to be the ghost of the Gray Man. Many believe it was a warning for this year’s hurricane season., Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

The National Hurricane Center said Florence is expected to slam into the coast around North and South Carolina as a Category 3 hurricane on Thursday or Friday. The storm’s winds had increased to 115 mph on Monday.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said he had asked President Trump for a federal disaster declaration ahead of the storm.

“We here in North Carolina are bracing for a hart hit,” Cooper said Monday. “We are taking Hurricane Florence seriously.”

Dare County officials ordered everyone to leave Hatteras Island on Monday. Residents and visitors in popular tourist spots such as Duck and Corolla faced a Tuesday deadline.

“Everyone in Dare County is encouraged to evacuate as soon as possible regardless of the established time frames,” the county announced.

A picture taken by a couple vacationing along the Grand Strand seems to show a ghostly figure walking down a pier in the Cherry Grove community.

“I’m not sure what it is,” said Johnny Cobb, one of the members of the group who took the photo. “I’m not saying it is a ghost, I’m not saying it’s not a ghost. It’s strange.”

“I guess people believe what they want to believe,” said Cobb.

He added he couldn’t see anything on the pier when he took the photo, but it appeared in the frame after the picture was completed.

The legend of the Grey Man is what has some worried about the most recent supposed ghost sighting.

“The Grey Man shows up for hurricanes. When there’s going to be a hurricane to hit the coast many people go down to the beach and they see the Grey Man walking the coasts,” Neff said. “It’s another one of those legends that many people have seen.”

Dare County has a year-round population of more than 30,000 people, but the population balloons during tourist seasons. It was not immediately clear how many people.

The National Hurricane Center said the storm was expected to continue growing in strength through the day. The center of Florence was forecast to sweep between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday before making its assault on the U.S. coast.

“Florence is forecast to become a major hurricane this morning and is expected to remain an extremely dangerous major hurricane through Thursday,” the hurricane center warned.

The hurricane center warned that the swells are likely to cause “life-threatening” surf and current conditions. Even before the evacuation order, Dare County emergency officials warned that rough seas and strong rip currents are already creating dangerous conditions.

Thousands ordered evacuated ahead of Hurricane Florence, Gray Man Sighting

“Red, no swimming flags are flying, and everyone must stay out of the water,” Dare County Emergency Management Director Drew Pearson said.

Satellite imagery indicated that the maximum sustained winds have increased to near 105 mph with higher gusts. A “major” hurricane is one with sustained winds of more than 110 mph.

Any Category 3, 4, or 5 hurricanes is classified as a major hurricane.

AccuWeather meteorologist Brett Rossi said the ground in North and South Carolina and Virginia is already saturated from recent rains. Rivers are high, and the storm will be moving slowly when it arrives, exacerbating the situation, Rossi told USA TODAY.

“This is very scary rain event potentially setting up this week,” Rossi said. “Florence could dump a foot of rain in places that cannot handle it, making for a very scary flooding situation in some areas.”

Some portions of the Carolinas could see as much as 20 inches of rain from Florence, the National Weather Service said, which would lead to river flooding that “could last for days or weeks” after the storm. The Weather Channel warned of a “disastrous” level of flooding for parts of the area.

The hurricane center’s breakdown of storm strength says Category 3 storms can bring “devastating” destruction. Homes can be damaged, trees uprooted, and electricity and water can be knocked out for days or weeks, the center warns.

The Navy said all ships in Virginia’s coastal Hampton Roads area were preparing to leave port for open seas Monday. Admiral Christopher Grady said ships can better weather “storms of this magnitude when they are underway.”

Thousands ordered evacuated ahead of Hurricane Florence, Gray Man Sighting

South Carolina emergency management officials said they were “preparing for the possibility of a large-scale disaster.”

Virginia, North and South Carolina have declared states of emergency ahead of the storm.

“The storm is strong and getting stronger,” Gov. Roy Cooper said. “The best safety plan is preparation and common sense.”

Florence is now one of three hurricanes spinning in the Atlantic Ocean, along with Helene and Isaac. While Helene is forecast to slide out to sea away from land, Isaac is a very real threat the Caribbean later this week, the hurricane center said.

In addition, in the Pacific, what’s now Hurricane Olivia is forecast to approach Hawaii as a tropical storm on Tuesday.

Mary Greeley News