Hurricane Florence Expected to Intensify Rapidly, Threaten Mid-Atlantic

Jan Cross
September 11, 2018

It was centered about 1,230 miles (1,985 kilometers) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, and moving west at 13 mph (20 kph).

Florence's maximum sustained winds jumped from 75 to 85 miles per hour as its speed increased from 7 to 8 miles per hour, the hurricane center said.

The storms are two of three hurricanes now spinning in the Atlantic.

The Miami-based center said that it was still too early to predict the hurricane's exact path but that a huge coastal area from SC to the mid-Atlantic region should prepare for a major strike late in the week.

Here are the 5 AM EDT Key Messages for Hurricane #Florence.

The immediate threat this weekend will be large swells and unsafe rip currents along the East Coast due to the storm.

Several meteorologists said Florence could do what Hurricane Harvey did over Texas, dumping days of rain, although not quite as bad. "Well away from the coast - central portions of Virginia and central portions of North Carolina - you could be hundreds of miles away, several hundreds of miles in some cases away from the center, and you could still get those unsafe rains that are going to cause the flash flooding".

"Make your plans now", South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster urged residents during a Sunday news conference.

Residents as far north as Virginia were warned that Florence could bring a life-threatening coastal storm surge, as well as inland flooding from "prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall", the NHC said. Power outages can last months and affected areas can be be "uninhabitable for weeks or months", the hurricane center says.

Hennen said computer models agree Florence is on track to hit the Carolinas.

In South Carolina, McMaster ordered the state's entire coastline evacuated starting at noon Tuesday.

Florence is expected to travel between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday before approaching the southeastern US coast on Thursday.

It is going to be a powerful storm for the next few days, and it has the potential to become a Category 5 Hurricane, according to Walsh.

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.

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Florence rapidly intensified into a fearsome category 3 hurricane Monday and could strike a direct and unsafe blow to the Carolinas later this week, possibly as a category 4, forecasters said.

Florence, a Category 1 hurricane, continued to strengthen in the central Atlantic and was expected to become a major hurricane by Monday night, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in its latest advisory on Sunday.

Isaac was about 1305 miles (2100 kilometers) east of the Windward Islands with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kmh) late Sunday.

September 8 - North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster both issued states of emergency for their respective states as it became clear that a landfall in the southeastern United States was more likely.

August 28 - Florence formed as a tropical wave off of the west coast of Africa.

Trump tweeted Monday afternoon that the federal government was monitoring the storm and was ready to help.

About an hour after the Category 3 upgrade, the storm was reclassified once again, now as Category 4. Dare County Emergency Management officials said they'll extend the order to all residents and visitors in other areas beginning at 7 a.m. Tuesday.

In coastal Charleston, South Carolina, city officials offered sandbags to residents, while Myrtle Beach officials urged people to secure their homes.

North Carolina crews were getting bulldozers and chain saws ready.

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"I'll see by Wednesday how that goes - we got over 48 hours before that happens", Cesal said.

Crowds of shoppers formed at supermarkets on Sunday, as people tried to stock up on supplies before the storm. The Navy planned to send ships from the Hampton Roads area of Virginia out to sea.

Florida-based Carnival Cruise Line re-routed its cruise ships.

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