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Hurricane Florence and Super Typhoon Mangkhut: What to Expect

Hurricane Florence and Super Typhoon Mangkhut: What to Expect

Two powerful storms are threatening lives and livelihoods this week on opposite ends of the earth — Hurricane Florence, forecast to bombard the Carolinas in the United States with wind and rain, and Typhoon Mangkhut, which has whipped up 150-mile-an-hour winds on its way toward the Philippines.A threat to the breadbasket of the PhilippinesThousands of…


Two powerful storms are threatening lives and livelihoods this week on opposite ends of the earth —Hurricane Florence, forecast to bombard the Carolinas in the United States with wind and rain, andTyphoon Mangkhut, which has whipped up 150-mile-an-hour winds on its way toward the Philippines.

A threat to the breadbasket of the Philippines

Thousands of people started evacuatingfrom the northern Philippines on Thursday ahead of the projected Saturday landfall of Typhoon Mangkhut in Luzon, the largest and most populous island in the Philippines.

The storm was expected tohit a region considered to be 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.

Curious why Mangkhut is called a typhoon while Florence is called a hurricane?It’s all about location.

Florence, a ‘monster’ of a storm

The first drips of Hurricane Florence had begun to fall over North Carolina on Thursday morning, with some areas forecast to be deluged by up to 40 inches of rain. Before the storm had officially even arrived, itswinds had already begun lashing the Outer Banks.

For the latest,check outThursday live updatesandmaps tracking the storm. (Florence was a Category 4 storm as of early Wednesday, but had been downgraded to Category 2 by Thursday.Here’s what the categories mean.)

Despite warnings from Gov. Roy Cooper against riding out what he called a “monster” storm, some North Carolinians — like Skippy Winner, an 84-year-old retired sea captain —planned to stay put. “I’m gonna be just fine, so let ’er blow,” he said.

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 arethree dangerous hurricane misconceptionsthat scientists want to clear up.

Like Hurricane Harvey last year, Florence was expected to forge ahead slowly, exacerbating its impact. Those storms aren’t alone: Researchers say that tropical cyclones, which include hurricanes,have become slowersince the mid-1900s.

The recovery will posea formidable testfor 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. Trumpfalsely accused Democratsof inflating the death toll from that storm, rejecting the official government estimate that it had claimed nearly 3,000 lives. Here’show that estimate was compiled.

[Make sense of the people, issues and ideas shaping the 2018 electionswith our new politics newsletter.]

The damage may also be magnified bypolicies in North Carolina that minimized climate changeand allowed development in coastal areas vulnerable to such storms.

News reports about the storm may be laden with words like landfall, eyewall and flood plain. Here’s a guide towhat the terms meanand here are some answers to reader questions aboutthe science of forecasting hurricanes.

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.

Here are sometips for travelersaffected by the storm and aguide to preparing for Florenceand other hurricanes. If you’re in a safe place to do so,tell us, too, how you are preparing.

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