Images from the International Space Station show the scale of the incoming Hurricane Florence, due to hit the east coast of the US.
Hurricane Florence is approaching the US, and while it is now downgraded to a category two storm, 10m people remain under some form of storm watch. Georgia is the latest state to declare a state of emergency, following North and South Carolina, Washington DC and Maryland.
As of 2am EDT today (13 September), Florence was about 37km east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and 450km east-southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
A storm from space
Yesterday morning, astronaut Alexander Gerst shared images taken from the International Space Station (ISS) of the enormous storm. Describing the storm as a “no-kidding nightmare”, Gerst said that he and US astronaut Ricky Arnold captured the images with a special, super-wide-angle lens, as the storm made its way towards the east of the US. NASA cameras also captured the storm earlier in September as it churned across the North Atlantic.
Florence is set to reach the coastline of North and South Carolina, with the risk of flooding at an extreme high. The winds have slightly weakened, but are unlikely to drop in speed again, so the storm could hang around near the coastline through to Saturday (15 September).
Inland areas such as Tennessee, Alabama and West Virginia are also at risk of flooding from the torrential rainfall expected due to Florence’s arrival. Governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper, said: “The time to prepare is almost over. Disaster is at the doorstep and it’s coming in.”
Hurricane Florence could cause severe damage
Georgia’s governor, Nathan Deal, said: “In light of the storm’s forecasted southward track after making landfall, I encourage Georgians to be prepared for the inland effects of the storm as well as the ensuing storm surge in coastal areas.”
Energy firm Duke Energy said that the storm could cut off electricity to three-quarters of its 4m customers in the Carolinas, with the outages potentially lasting for weeks on end. Jeff Byard of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said: “This is going to be a Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast.”
You can track the storm here.