United States airlines and cruises brace for Hurricane Florence

Jan Cross
September 11, 2018

Hurricane and Storm Surge Watches will be issued on Tuesday as the storm is expected to head toward the southeastern USA, potentially making landfall, still as a category 4 hurricane, Thursday afternoon or night.

Helene - 375 miles (600 kms) west of the Cape Verde islands off the African coast - had winds up to 105 mph (165 kph), and was expected to continue moving west-northwest for another couple of days, the NHC said in its 1500 GMT bulletin.

Hurricane Florence is intensifying and expected to transform into a major hurricane as it barrels toward the southeastern US coast, where forecasters expect a life-threatening storm surge, major flooding and damaging winds this week.

Hurricane Florence now has maximum sustained winds of 140 miles per hour.

The National Hurricane Center announced Florence was increased to a Category 4 hurricane Monday morning, with a projected path toward the Carolinas.

It warned the storm would be "an extremely unsafe major hurricane" by the time it made landfall, forecast in the Carolinas on Thursday.

At the moment, Florence, Hurricane Isaac, and Hurricane Helene are all swirling in different parts of the ocean at the peak of hurricane season.

"Data from a NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased near 140 miles per hour (220 km/h) with higher gusts". The governor also waived certain restrictions for trucks and heavy vehicles to help farmers harvest crops and move livestock before the storm, officials said.

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"I'm telling them to go inland, but I'm anxious about the rain and tornadoes too", Mr Roberts said.

The parking lot has been full for three days at the Ace Hardware store in coastal Calabash, North Carolina, where manager Tom Roberts said he sold 150 gas cans in two hours Monday, along with generators, plywood, rope, manual can openers, sand bags and a plethora of other items.

In the Pacific, Tropical Storm Olivia is set to sweep through the Hawaiian islands Tuesday, where tropical storm watches have been posted. The northernmost landfall was made by Hazel, a devastating and deadly storm that struck close to the South Carolina/North Carolina border in October of 1954.

He estimated about 1 million residents would flee the coast of his state, following earlier orders for the evacuation of more than 50,000 people from the southern-most Outer Banks barrier islands of North Carolina. Under a mission assignment from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the USGS plans to deploy about 160 sensors and is consulting with federal and state partners about the need for similar equipment for other areas along the mid-Atlantic coast.

Up and down the densely populated coast, residents have been told to prepare, and not just for a possible direct blow.

"Florence is quickly becoming a powerful hurricane", hurricane specialist Eric Blake wrote. UNC-Wilmington canceled all classes and ordered a voluntary evacuation at noon on Monday.Eastern Carolina University canceled classes starting at noon on Tuesday for the remainder of the week.

As of Monday night, the president had not yet declared a state of emergency in Virginia, which is also expected to receive damaging rains and winds after the storm makes landfall.

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

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