Intensifying Hurricane Florence could strike U.S. Southeast

Cesar Mills
September 11, 2018

Forecasters are also tracking two more hurricanes that have formed to the east of Florence: Hurricane Helene, which strengthened to a Category 2 storm off the west coast of Africa today, and Hurricane Isaac, a Category 1 storm now located roughly halfway between Florence and Helene.

More than one million Americans are set to flee their coastal homes as powerful Hurricane Florence rolls towards the East Coast.

Hurricane Florence is carrying winds of up to 140 miles per hour as a Category 4 storm.

By noon EDT Monday, Florence was centered about 1,230 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, and moving west at 13 mph.

North and South Carolina are under a state of emergency, and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has ordered the coastline to evacuate.

Maps of the storm's trajectory showed it likely to come ashore somewhere near the border of North Carolina and SC.

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North Carolina governor Roy Cooper asked President Donald Trump for an early Disaster Declaration on Monday to prepare for anticipated damage in the state.

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Virginia and North Carolina have also declared states of emergency , which allows them to call in the National Guard . NWS briefing there is an "increasing risk of life threatening impacts, including storm surge and inland flooding".

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Florence is now classified as a Category 1 hurricane, and is currently expected to hit the southeastern coast of the U.S. Hurricane Isaac - which late Sunday became the fifth hurricane of the season - is heading west towards the Caribbean.

Once Florence makes landfall, it'll be the first major Atlantic hurricane of the 2018 season to hit the mainland US.

According to the NHC, the region is facing "life-threatening" storm surge, freshwater flooding and damaging hurricane-force winds.

Storms increase in frequency and intensity by mid-August and into September as temperatures in the Atlantic climb to their highest levels, Javaheri said. Georgia, West Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Delaware, New Jersey, southern Pennsylvania, and eastern Tennessee, Kentucky, and OH could also see strong winds. He also noted that he'd been in contact with the governors of South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia to assure them the federal government was available to provide assistance.

At a press conference on Monday, Cooper called his state the "bullseye" for Hurricane Florence, saying they are "bracing for a hard hit". Once the storm makes landfall, McMaster said, it's expected to move slowly, dumping extreme amounts of rain likely to cause flooding. "We just don't do that", he said.

On Monday afternoon, nurse Barbara Mack was using a small shovel to fill sandbags at a public works facility in Charleston - but she saw a silver lining in the hurricane preparations.

"The forecast places North Carolina in the bull's-eye of Hurricane Florence, and the storm is rapidly getting stronger", he said. He said the storm surge could reach as high as 10ft (3m) and estimated that one million residents would be leaving the coast. "Everyone in Virginia needs to prepare", he said.

Further to the east, forecasters are also watching hurricanes Isaac and Helene.

Other reports by GizPress

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