Florence haunts S.Carolina res­i­dents

Storm’s shift causes anx­i­ety in state

Global Times - - World -

For peo­ple in South Carolina, Hur­ri­cane Florence is play­ing a scary game of cat and mouse.

The cat­e­gory 2 storm’s shift­ing track has had peo­ple here won­der­ing if they will get a direct hit or some­thing a lit­tle less vi­o­lent.

The lat­est fore­cast is that Florence will move near or over the coast of south­ern North Carolina and eastern South Carolina Thurs­day night and Fri­day.

“It’s a fickle mean girl. She doesn’t know what she wants to do,” said Kelly Pre­ston, a 56-year-old house­wife, as she walked around the still-sunny city of Charleston as it awaited the storm.

Though it has been down­graded from cat­e­gory 4, the storm is still de­scribed as ex­tremely dan­ger­ous, with max­i­mum sus­tained winds of 175 kilo­me­ters per hour and po­ten­tial for life-threat­en­ing storm surges and wide­spread flood­ing.

Un­til Tues­day, fore­cast­ers were say­ing the storm looked likely to make land­fall in North Carolina.

But now the Na­tional Hur­ri­cane Cen­ter says “a slow mo­tion” over eastern South Carolina is fore­cast Fri­day night and Satur­day.

“It’s Rus­sian roulette. We just don’t know where it’s go­ing. I’m play­ing. I just want to go home and sit in my chair,” said Pre­ston.

Ni­cholas Cun­diff, a 27 year old doc­tor rid­ing his bike on de­serted streets as the storm moved closer, was not fright­ened, ei­ther, even though nearly a mil­lion peo­ple have been or­dered to evac­u­ate coastal ar­eas of South Carolina.

“I haven’t made up my mind. I prob­a­bly stay,” said Cun­diff.

“It’s a lit­tle dis­con­cert­ing given that there’s so much un­known, but I think it looks like it shouldn’t be too hor­rific, so I think I’ll be OK rid­ing it out. If sud­denly it’s bad, I’ll head out.”

Charleston was a ghost town on Wed­nes­day, as win­dows were cov­ered with boards or sheet metal and stores were closed.

The only peo­ple around were crews bang­ing ham­mers to give the fi­nal touches to the emer­gency prepa­ra­tion work. But many homes in this stately and his­toric city are old or run down, and most had no pro­tec­tion cov­er­ing their win­dows.

Only some houses had a few sand­bags out­side to pro­tect against what fore­cast­ers are de­scrib­ing as a once-in-al­ife­time storm.

“I do worry though about peo­ple here be­cause many didn’t pre­pare, you know. Be­cause orig­i­nally they didn’t think it was go­ing to be so bad here,” re­tiree Barry Sparks said as he bought wa­ter in the state cap­i­tal Columbia.

“And I can imag­ine some peo­ple are not pre­pared,” he said.

States all along the US east coast have de­clared states of emer­gency amid fears of cat­a­strophic flood­ing from the hur­ri­cane.

Ap­peals to stay safe came from as far away as space: Ger­man as­tro­naut Alexan­der Gerst tweeted pictures of the mon­ster storm taken from the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion along with the warning: “Watch out, Amer­ica!”

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