Sept. 12, 2018 (Gephardt Daily/UPI) — Missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serving in coastal areas are being moved to safe locations as Hurricane Florence, which forecasters say could be the “storm of a lifetime,” approaches the East Coast.
The National Hurricane Center said in its 5 a.m. advisory that the Category 4 storm will move west-northwestward between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Wednesday. It will then slow considerably while strengthening off the U.S. coast, and produce extremely dangerous conditions in its path. The storm will most likely strike the coast of North Carolina or South Carolina by late Thursday.
The LDS Church released this statement on the hurricane:
“Missionaries in the path of Hurricane Florence are taking necessary precautions to remain safe as the storm prepares to make landfall. Missionaries serving in coastal areas are being moved to safe locations with adequate supplies. Mission presidents are instructing missionaries on safety protocols as well as how to offer service in appropriate ways in the aftermath of the storm.
“The Church continues to monitor conditions on the ground and will make any necessary adjustments as the storm progresses. We pray for the safety and well-being of all those in the path of the hurricane.”
The eye of the storm was about 575 miles southeast of Cape Fear, N.C., early Wednesday, and moving west-northwest at 17 mph with recorded maximum sustained winds of 130 mph, the NHC said.
The National Weather Service in Wilmington, N.C., said the hurricane is looking like a major event.
“This will likely be the storm of a lifetime for portions of the Carolina coast,” it said early Wednesday. “And that’s saying a lot given the impacts we’ve seen from Hurricanes Diana, Hugo, Fran, Bonnie, Floyd, and Matthew.”
“I can’t emphasize enough the potential for unbelievable damage from wind, storm surge, and inland flooding with this storm,” one NWS forecaster said.
A hurricane warning was in effect from the South Santee River, S.C., to Duck, N.C., and in the Albemarle and Pamlico sounds. A hurricane watch was issued for Edisto Beach, S.C., to the South Santee River.
A tropical storm warning, indicating the expectation of conditions below hurricane-strength winds, is in effect for coastal areas north of the Virginia border to Cape Charles Light, Va., and in Chesapeake Bay, south of New Point Comfort, Va.
“Florence is expected to slow down considerably by late Thursday into Friday, and move through early Saturday,” the NHC said on Wednesday.
Florence is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 15 to 20 inches and possibly 30 inches in some spots along its track over portions of North Carolina, Virginia and northern South Carolina through Saturday. The rainfall may produce life-threatening flash floods.