Updated Sept. 14
Two powerful storms are threatening lives and livelihoods this week on opposite ends of the earth — Hurricane Florence, which made landfall Friday morning while battering the North Carolina coast with strong winds and blinding rain, and Super Typhoon Mangkhut, which has whipped up lashing winds on its way toward the Philippines. Dozens of Times journalists are covering the two storms on opposite sides of the globe. We are providing open and unlimited access.
Florence, a ‘monster’ of a storm
The first water rescues began on Friday in North Carolina, where some areas are forecast to be deluged by up to 40 inches of rain. Residents fear the flooding that may occur, even in inland areas, and the storm’s winds had already begun lashing the Outer Banks.
For the latest, check out Friday’s live updates and maps tracking the storm. (Florence was a Category 4 storm as of early Wednesday, but had been downgraded to Category 1 by Thursday evening. Here’s what the categories mean.)
The coastal town of New Bern, N.C., was already inundated on Thursday, as rescue workers raced to help hundreds of residents affected by the storm. Hear from Times readers in the storm’s path.
Thousands have taken shelter in South Carolina, where officials have urged residents to evacuate even as they decided to leave some inmates behind.
In North Carolina, some people have decided to stay put, despite warnings from Gov. Roy Cooper against riding out what he called a “monster” storm. Skippy Winner, an 84-year-old retired sea captain, is among them. “I’m gonna be just fine, so let ’er blow,” he said.
Evacuation orders can pose special challenges for the elderly and disabled. Here’s expert advice for those who cannot or will not evacuate.
Part of the reason that people ignore such warnings is that forecasts and risks are not always communicated well to the public, experts said. Here are three dangerous hurricane misconceptions that scientists want to clear up.
The damage caused by Florence could be magnified by a number of factors.
The storm threatens to stir up toxic hazards in its path including animal waste, coal ash and other hazardous materials that could complicate the recovery. And, at least in North Carolina, policies minimized climate change, allowing development in areas vulnerable to such storms.
Finally, like Hurricane Harvey last year, Florence is expected to progress slowly, lingering over areas as it pummels them with harsh wind and rain. Those storms aren’t alone, either: Researchers say that tropical cyclones, including hurricanes, have become slower since the mid-1900s.
Some of the areas most threatened by Florence were once mainly or almost exclusively home to African-Americans. Many black residents have long since moved away as their communities were targeted for displacement, but some pockets remain.
The recovery from the storm will pose a formidable test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency and President Trump, who oversaw a lackluster response to the hurricane that devastated Puerto Rico last year.
On Thursday, Mr. Trump falsely accused Democrats of inflating the death toll from the storm that hit Puerto Rico, rejecting the official government estimate that it had claimed nearly 3,000 lives. Here’s how that estimate was compiled.
The same day, FEMA’s chief, Brock Long, found himself facing another crisis: the revelation that a government watchdog was looking into whether he had misused agency vehicles.
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A dozen hurricanes have hit North Carolina since Hurricane Hazel made landfall as a Category 4 storm in 1954, but none have been as severe. Read more about that storm.
News reports about the storm may be laden with words like landfall, eyewall and flood plain. Here’s a guide to what the terms mean and here are some answers to reader questions about the science of forecasting hurricanes.
Here are some tips for travelers affected by the storm and how to use technology to your advantage. Read our guide to preparing for Florence and other hurricanes.
A threat to the breadbasket of the Philippines
Thousands of people evacuated their homes and stockpiled supplies ahead of the projected Saturday landfall of Super Typhoon Mangkhut in Luzon, the largest and most populous island in the Philippines.Follow our live updates andtrack the storm’s location as it approaches.
Luzon is home to a region considered the country’s breadbasket, raising concerns that an agricultural sector already devastated by a series of typhoons would be pummeled once again, right at the beginning of the corn and rice harvest.
The storm raised the specter of Typhoon Haiyan, which claimed more than 6,000 lives in 2013, overwhelming the government and the military. Officials have already begun to employ some of the lessons it left behind.
Why is Mangkhut called a typhoon while Florence is called a hurricane? It’s all about location. A “super” typhoon is one with sustained wind speeds of at least 150 miles per hour. As of Friday, Mangkhut had winds of nearly 170 miles per hour, the same as a Category 5 hurricane.