As Hurricane Florence nears Carolinas, 1 million told to evacuate

11 September, 2018, 13:27 | Author: Chad Warren
  • Hurricane Florence Could Strike East Coast This Week; Carolinas, Virginia Declare Emergencies

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center have said Florence is expected to be an extremely unsafe storm by the time it nears the coast of SC or North Carolina on Thursday.

Hurricane Florence rapidly regained strength Sunday after briefly weakening to a tropical storm, and is possibly on a collision course with the Wilmington-Cape Fear area as a Category 3 storm or stronger.

Florence, the first major hurricane to threaten the eastern United States this year, was forecast to hit the coast of North Carolina or SC on Thursday.

"Further strengthening is anticipated, and Florence is expected to be an extremely unsafe major hurricane through Thursday", the National Hurricane Center said.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper urged his state's residents to get ready, noting the storm was generating swelling waves and risky currents.

Tropical Storm Florence was upgraded to a hurricane on Sunday morning by the National Hurricane Center.

The storm is expected to take a track that will move west-southwest and eventually curve toward a possible landfall in North or SC.

The third hurricane in the Atlantic, Hurricane Florence, could pose a danger to parts of the U.S.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper's office said that Florence is already being felt along the state's coast, with large sea swells resulting in life-threatening rip currents and surf.

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Lining up behind Florence, Isaac was about 1,150 miles east of the Windward Islands with top winds of 75 mph early Monday, moving west at 14 mph. It was expected to strengthen into a hurricane then weaken by the middle of the week.

Hurricanes Helene and Isaac are not expected to hit the United States mainland. "Even though some computer models have shifted northward over the past several days, there is still too much uncertainty with this storm and we are still very much under the threat for a potential landfalling major hurricane". The confidence in a North Carolina landfall Thursday night is growing, but there's still room for improvement regarding model disagreement. Certain areas of Brunswick, Currituck, Dare, Hyde, New Hanover, and Onslow counties are affected, and more orders are expected Tuesday. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 115 miles per hour and was moving west at about 13 miles per hour, the hurricane center said.

The storm's winds grew by 35 miles-per-hour in the last 24 hours, and Florence is forecast to reach Category 4 status, one step short of the the most severe level, with 150 mile-per-hour winds by Wednesday. As projected paths for Florence continue to change, Gov. Henry McMaster said during an update Sunday afternoon, "What that means for us in SC is that whatever happens, we're going to have a lot of rain and a lot of wind".

Hurricane Florence is aiming for a region of the U.S. East Coast that is especially vulnerable to storm surge and flooding from heavy rains.

At the same time, the Met Service said Helene is moving towards the west near 22 km/h, and this motion is expected to continue through today.

The National Hurricane Center says Isaac has become the fifth hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic season.

Even in the unlikely event that the storm center remains just offshore, it will nearly certainly come close enough to bring unsafe wind and flooding to coastal areas. Florence now has maximum sustained winds of 115 miles per hour, and gusts up to 140 miles per hour, making it a major hurricane capable of doing "devastating" damage.

Isaac will be near the Lesser Antilles later this week and could bring impacts to parts of the Caribbean Islands during this time frame. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles. Florence has been moving more toward the west and slightly northwest, potentially making direct landfall coming in from the east.

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