Amazing, yet terrifying video from a plane flying into the eye of Hurricane Florence, takes a look inside the Category 4 storm that’s barreling towards the US East Coast.
The incredible video, recorded on Monday, shows the Lockheed WP-3D Orion flying through the strong winds of the hurricane until it reaches the eerily calm eye.
The ‘Hurricane Hunter’ is specially equipped and operated by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to fly through storms to collect data, playing a major role in hurricane forecasting.
Data collected during the flight allows the NOAA to keep a watchful eye on the most powerful storm to date in the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, to research its speed, intensity and structure.
Time-lapse video of a #NOAA WP-3D Hurricane Hunter (#NOAA42) flight into Hurricane #Florence on Sept. 10, 2018. Get the latest on the storm at https://t.co/MlZk25kG0d. Credit: Nick Underwood/NOAA pic.twitter.com/FQ3RJMKVUU
— NOAA Aircraft Operations Center (@NOAA_HurrHunter) September 11, 2018
Hurricane Florence evacuations expand, with ‘disaster at doorstep’
Hurricane Florence, growing in size despite its weakening winds, churned ever closer to the US East Coast on Wednesday as evacuations expanded south from the Carolinas into Georgia to counter the threat of deadly high seas and calamitous floods.
The centre of Florence, a slow-moving Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, is expected to strike North Carolina late Thursday or early Friday and could drift southwest along the coast before turning inland, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
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The storm’s maximum sustained winds were clocked at 193km/h, before Florence was downgraded from a Category 4.
But the NHC warned that Florence still poses a deadly threat to a wide stretch of the US Eastern Seaboard, from southern Georgia into southern Virginia, and remained capable of unleashing rain-fueled catastrophic flooding of rivers and low-lying areas.
“The time to prepare is almost over,” North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a morning news conference.
“Disaster is at the doorstep and it’s coming in.”
More than 1 million people have been ordered to evacuate the coastlines of the Carolinas and Virginia.
Hurricane warnings affecting 5.4m people
The National Weather Service says more than 5.4 million people live in areas now under hurricane warnings or watches on the US East Coast.
Another four million people are under a tropical storm watch. Assorted bad weather advisories stretched from Florida to Maine on Tuesday evening.
Those facing the most serious threat are in the Carolinas, as Category 4 Hurricane Florence barrels toward the coast, with an expected landfall Friday.