Tropical Storm Florence churns towards United States coast

14 September, 2018, 18:34 | Author: Bertha Harmon
  • Astronaut captures photos of ominous-looking Hurricane Florence from space

Two other storms were spinning in the Atlantic.

Hurricane Florence is plowing toward the East Coast as a Category 4 storm with a 500-mile wing span, forcing dire warnings and mandatory evacuations - including the entire coastline of SC and parts of Virginia and North Carolina.

Florence became the first major hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic season this past Wednesday , reaching Category 4 status with maximum sustained winds peaking at 130 miles per hour.

Helene was also upgraded to a hurricane on Sunday, the center said, but neither Helene nor Tropical Storm Isaac are expected to hit the mainland United States.

Forecasts call for 10 to 15 inches (25-38 cm) of rain in the hardest-hit areas, possibly more if the storm stalls over land, as expected, Graham said. By 11 a.m. EDT on Monday, Florence became a major hurricane, with top sustained winds of 115 miles per hour.

Classified as a Category 4 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane strength, Florence stood as the most severe storm to threaten the US mainland this year and the first of its magnitude to take aim at the Carolinas since 1989, when Hurricane Hugo barrelled over Charleston, South Carolina.

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

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"I don't think many of us have ever been through a Category 4". And it would be the first major hurricane (Category 3 or higher) to hit the East Coast since Jeanne, which struck Florida in 2004. The storm crossed the 74 miles-per-hour threshold from tropical storm to hurricane Sunday morning, and by evening its winds were up to 85 mph.

The hurricane center's description of a Category 4 hurricane begins with "catastrophic damage will occur".

Swells generated by Florence are already affecting Bermuda and are beginning to reach portions of the US East Coast, the hurricane center said.

"There is an increasing risk of two life-threatening impacts from Florence: storm surge at the coast and freshwater flooding from a prolonged heavy rainfall event inland", the Miami-based center said in the advisory. It is too soon to say where, when or how severe the rainfall might be.

The governors of North and SC and Virginia declared states of emergency to give them time to prepare, and the Navy said ships in Virginia's Hampton Roads area would leave port for their own safety.

AccuWeather meteorologist Brett Rossi said the ground in North and SC and Virginia is already saturated from recent rains. That would make state and local agencies eligible for FEMA reimbursement of some costs.

"Review your emergency plans and gather your supplies now", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said in a statement on Sunday.

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"Action today can avoid losses due to Florence", he said.

"Checkout lines @Costco in Charleston running all the way to the back of the store".

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

"Water supplies being depleted". "By tomorrow at this time, we should be able to tell you whether it will weaken rapidly after it heads into North Carolina or if it stays out over water and moves south closer to SC". "We still have water supply from past year here", she told CNN. The Navy put them on Sortie Condition Bravo, which means the onset of destructive weather is within 48 hours.

McMaster said he has asked U.S. President Donald Trump to declare a federal emergency in the state in anticipation of the storm's arrival.

Tropical Storm Florence is becoming a "better organised" weather system that is likely to strengthen into a hurricane late Saturday, weather forecasters said. While larger than Katrina (which was 415 miles wide), it still has a ways to go to reach the record width of 1,000 miles from Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Florence is one of three hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean, along with Helene and Isaac. The center warns that such storms will snap or uproot most trees and down power poles and that power can be out in some areas for weeks or months.

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