CATEGORY 4: Hurricane Florence Rapidly Intensifies Into Major Hurricane

11 September, 2018, 08:13 | Author: Lucy Floyd
  • The entire Cape Fear region is at risk of wind from Hurricane Florence

More than a million people living along the coastlines of SC and Virginia have been ordered to evacuate their homes on Tuesday, as parts of America's mid-Atlantic coast brace for what could be the most powerful storm to ever hit the region. Forecasters also cautioned that Hurricane Florence will "remain an extremely unsafe hurricane" as it tracks towards the mainland U.S.

"With the possibility that Tropical Storm Florence could make landfall in SC, likely as a hurricane, our people have already started making preparations", Attorney General Alan Wilson said. The official forecast provided by the National Hurricane Center indicates the storm could be just shy of a catastrophic category 5 hurricane by Tuesday afternoon with winds of 155 miles per hour. North Carolina seems to be the state that could bear the brunt of the winds, along with SC and parts of southern Virginia.

SC ordered an estimated one million people to evacuate its coast today as the state and neighbouring North Carolina brace for Hurricane Florence. The move will allow the state to use the National Guard for preparations and recovery if necessary.

On North Carolina's Outer Banks, Dawn Farrow Taylor, 50, was gathering photos and important documents and filling prescriptions Monday before heading inland.

"We have already began mobilizing our assets to respond accordingly, and we are here for you!" he tweeted.

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Maps of the storm's trajectory show it is most likely to make landfall between northern SC and North Carolina's Outer Banks on Thursday, making it the most powerful storm to strike the Carolinas in almost three decades.

"Pretend, assume, presume that a major hurricane is going to hit right smack dab in the middle of South Carolina and is going to go way inshore", South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said.

Florence is now a category 4 hurricane.

This NOAA/RAMMB satellite image taken at 12:15:31 UTC on September 10, 2018, shows Hurricane Florence off the USA east coast in the Atantic Ocean. That means sustained winds of at least 130 miles per hour and expectations of catastrophic damage, the hurricane center says.

The NHC also was tracking two other hurricanes farther out in the Atlantic. That would cause more flooding rains across a large swath of the South, after Tropical Storm Gordon inundated the area earlier this month.

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By noon EDT on Monday, Florence had top sustained winds of 130 miles per hour.

In coastal Charleston, South Carolina, city officials offered sandbags to residents. The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will coordinate response efforts, according to Trump's order.

As meteorologist Stu Ostro of The Weather Channel reports via Twitter, since 1851, only four Category 4 hurricanes have made landfall north of Florida on the East Coast.

As of Monday evening, Hurricane Florence was moving west-northwest at 13 miles per hour. The United States was hit with a series of high-powered hurricanes a year ago, including Hurricane Maria, which killed some 3,000 people in Puerto Rico, and Hurricane Harvey, which killed about 68 people and caused an estimated $1.25 billion in damage with catastrophic flooding in Houston. Hurricane Isaac was expected to lose strength as it reaches the Caribbean, and Helene, much farther out to sea, may veer northward into the open ocean as the 2018 hurricane season reaches its peak.

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