Carolinas brace as Florence strengthens to Category 4 hurricane
14 September, 2018, 14:11 | Author: Ann Santiago
Packing winds of up to 220 km/h (140 mph) late Monday, Florence was expected to further strengthen and become "an extremely unsafe major hurricane" by the time in makes landfall in the Carolinas on Thursday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in a 21:00 UTC update. The rating system from 1 to 5 is based on a hurricane's sustained wind speed.
The National Hurricane Center issued an advisory Monday that the storm is expected to approach the North or SC coast Thursday as an "extremely risky major hurricane".
An evacuation order from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam applies to about 245,000 people, including parts of the Hampton Roads area and Eastern Shore.
South Carolina's governor ordered the state's entire coastline to be evacuated starting at noon Tuesday, and predicted that a million people would flee.
Florence was more than 400 miles wide early Monday, according to the NWS.
At this height of the Atlantic hurricane season, Florence is being trailed on east-to-west paths by two other hurricanes, Helene and Isaac.
"Traffic was backed up for about 9 miles (14 km) in places", said Paul Jones, a retiree who owns a home on the island.
A category 3 hurricane has winds of 96 to 112 miles per hour, the NHC said.
Computer-model forecasts generally project the storm to make landfall between northern SC and North Carolina's Outer Banks as a Category 4 on Thursday, although shifts in the track are possible and storm impacts will expand great distances beyond where landfall occurs.
That track shows the center of the storm continuing inland to Raleigh and Greensboro.
There are three hurricanes and a tropical wave in the Atlantic Ocean, and forecasters predict Hurricane Florence will make landfall later this week. The biggest problem now is there is nothing to slow or weaken this storm between now and then. "Some computer models keep the storm just offshore though, which would lessen the local impact".
In Holden Beach, North Carolina, in the storm's path, longtime residents were busy securing their homes and possessions.
In North Carolina, the first mandatory evacuation order was issued at noon, and Gov. Roy Cooper expects more later Monday and Tuesday.
With little wind shear to pull the storm apart, Florence's hurricane wind field is expected to expand over the coming days, increasing its storm surge and inland wind threats. Florence, which is expected to become a Cat 5 hurricane today, is projected to hit North Carolina either very late Thursday or early Friday. As of Monday evening, only United hadn't announced waiver policies for Florence.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement Monday that President Donald Trump had a briefing call at the White House about Hurricane Florence with the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Even in the unlikely event that the storm center remains just offshore, it will nearly certainly come close enough to bring risky wind and flooding to coastal areas. Get ready. Get evacuated. "These tropical storms and hurricanes are very unsafe".
SAFFO: Please do not take that type of opinion.
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Most other beachgoers were long done. "It's been really nice", Nicole Roland said. "You feel like you should have already left". Water kills more people in hurricanes than wind, and he said it will still be an extremely risky storm for rain and storm surge.
That means sustained winds of at least 130 miles per hour and expectations of catastrophic damage, the hurricane center says. North Carolina seems to be the state that could bear the brunt of the winds, along with SC and parts of southern Virginia .
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