Carolinas brace for potentially devastating Hurricane Florence

Ismael LynchSep 12, 2018

The National Hurricane Center says it is still too early to predict the storm's exact path, but a huge coastal area from northern Florida to North Carolina should prepare for a possible a "major hurricane".

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

As of 11 a.m. EDT, Florence was centered about 580 miles (935 kilometers) south-southeast of Bermuda, moving west at 13 mph (20 kph).

The National Hurricane Center update on Sunday afternoon had Florence roughly 720 miles southeast of Bermuda, with little chance of being weakened by upper level winds or cooler water.

Florence is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 15 to 20 inches and possibly 30 inches in some spots along its track over portions of North Carolina, Virginia and northern SC through Saturday.

Swells generated by Florence were affecting Bermuda and starting to reach parts of the U.S. East Coast. "The last Atlantic hurricane to intensify as rapidly as far north as Florence's current location was Hurricane Humberto in 2007", he said.

Hurricane and storm surge watches were in effect from Edisto Beach, S.C., to the North Carolina-Virginia border and Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, including the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers. "We are mobilizing the state's resources to make sure we are prepared, and the people of SC must not hesitate to prepare for the possibility of a hurricane impacting our coast".

In addition, in the Pacific, what's now Hurricane Olivia is forecast to approach Hawaii as a tropical storm on Tuesday.

The storm is expected to pose life-threatening risk from both its powerful winds and the epic, prolonged rain it is expected to dump over the course of a few days on coastal and inland areas extending potentially hundreds of miles in the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic.

Gov. Roy Cooper urged residents to prepare for lengthy power outages after the hurricane arrives and learn evacuation routes they may need to take.

Foremost among those is Tropical Storm Florence, which is expected to re-strengthen into a hurricane Sunday and looks increasingly likely to hit the East Coast.

Tropical Depression Nine formed 1755 miles east of the Windward Islands Friday. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma previous year were both Category 4 storms when they arrived in Texas and Florida, respectively.

The National Hurricane Center says Isaac has become the fifth hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic season. Hurricanes Helene and Isaac are not expected to hit the USA mainland. Tropical storm force winds and some rain bands will likely begin Wednesday night, regardless of the actual landfall of the storm. It is expected to accelerate during the next 36 hours and head into the eastern Caribbean Sea by Thursday. No tropical storm or hurricane has ever gotten close to the United States when it was anywhere near Florence's position.

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