Florence becomes a hurricane, takes aim at US Southeast

Cesar Mills
September 11, 2018

McMaster has already declared a state of emergency in SC and asked President Donald Trump for a federal declaration ahead of the storm, which intensified Monday to a potentially catastrophic Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 130 miles per hour (195 kph).

Florence crossed the 74 miles per hour threshold from tropical storm to a hurricane Sunday morning, and by evening its winds were up to 85 miles per hour (140 kph) as the National Hurricane Center warned a hurricane hunter plane found the storm strengthening quickly.

The center also said that Hurricane Isaac has become the 5th named hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic season. Gov. Ralph Northam ordered a mandatory evacuation to begin at 8 a.m. Tuesday for 245,000 people in parts of the Hampton Roads area and the Eastern shore.

The first effects of what forecasters are already calling a large and extremely risky hurricane were already being seen on barrier islands Monday as unsafe rip currents and seawater flowed over the state highway.

On its current track Florence is expected to slam the Carolinas and Virginia the hardest - and all three states have issued emergency declarations to speed preparations. Thus, you should stay alert in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, especially along the coasts.

At this time, direct impacts from Hurricane Florence are not expected in Florida.

The storm will be crashing through a region already sodden from heavy rains, making flooding a major concern.

In announcing his evacuation order, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said an estimated 1 million people would be fleeing the coast.

The National Hurricane Center is now saying that there is an increasing risk of storm surge on the coast, and inland flooding due to heavy rainfall.

The last Category 4 storm to hit the Carolinas was Hugo, which barreled into Charleston, South Carolina, in 1989.

Navy ships off Virginia's coast are getting set to sail out of the path of the powerful hurricane, one North Carolina university has canceled classes and people have begun stocking up on plywood, bottled water and other supplies even with Florence still far out at sea southeast of Bermuda.

On the forecast track, the center of Florence will travel between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday before approaching the southeastern USA coast on Thursday. The system would move slowly to the west over the next few days. Tropical-storm-force winds could reach the coastal Carolinas by Wednesday night or Thursday morning.

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Hurricane Olivia had maximum sustained winds of 90 mph, and was approximately 1,370 miles east of Honolulu as of 11 p.m. local time.

Florence is now classified as a Category 1 hurricane, and is currently expected to hit the southeastern coast of the U.S.

Hurricane Florence is expected to become a risky "major hurricane" by late on Monday as it heads toward the US East Coast, the National Hurricane Center said, as states of emergency were declared in preparation for the storm.

In an earlier update, officials said Florence's winds could reach 150 mph over the next 36 hours.

Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency and is urging all North Carolinians to prepare.

Some forecasts call for Florence to stall out after it strikes the coast.

"We need to watch this storm very, very closely", Live 5 Meteorologist Joey Sovine said.

"I don't think many of us have ever been through a Category 4".

The South Carolina Emergency Management Division tweeted Sunday that officials there are "preparing for the possibility of a large-scale disaster".

"Im telling them to go inland, but Im anxious about the rain and tornadoes too", Roberts said.

The U.S. Navy is also taking precautions, with the U.S. Fleet Forces Command ordering almost 30 ships in the Hampton Roads area of the Virginia coast to head out to sea to avoid the storm.

Hurricane Isaac - which late Sunday became the fifth hurricane of the season - is heading west towards the Caribbean.

Other reports by GizPress

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