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In simulation, Category 4 hurricane devastated East Coast

ATLANTA — Just months ago, disaster planners simulated a Category 4 hurricane strike alarmingly similar to the real-word scenario now unfolding on the East Coast.

A fictional “Hurricane Cora” barreled into southeast Virginia and up the Chesapeake Bay to strike Washington, D.C., in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s scenario.

The result was catastrophic damage. That has some experts concerned that Hurricane Florence could produce a disaster comparable to 2005’s Hurricane Katrina and in a part of the country that is famously difficult to evacuate.

In the government simulation, Cora knocked out power for most gas stations in the Mid-Atlantic region, damaged a nuclear plant and sent debris into shipping channels, among other problems.

Florence is also a Category 4 storm and is now forecast to strike the same general area.