Florence strengthens to a Category 4 hurricane ahead of East Coast landfall

11 September, 2018, 13:28 | Author: Sidney Guerrero
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The storm was 625 miles (1,005 kilometers) southeast of the British North Atlantic island territory of Bermuda at 0900 GMT Monday, and was forecast "to become a major hurricane" Monday morning, the National Hurricane Center said.

Hurricane Olivia, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center's advisory issued at 11 a.m. ET Sunday, is approaching Hawaii with maximum sustained winds near 80 miles per hour and is expected to remain at hurricane strength through Monday evening.

Florence, the first major hurricane to threaten the eastern United States this year, was forecast to hit the coast of North Carolina or SC on Thursday.

The first effects of what forecasters are already calling a large and extremely risky hurricane were already being seen on barrier islands Monday as unsafe rip currents and seawater flowed over the state highway. The Category 4 storm is expected to make landfall sometime Thursday or Friday, bringing major impacts to North and SC including the potential for heavy rain.

Hurricane Florence seen over the Atlantic Ocean, about 750 miles southeast of Bermuda in this handout photo provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on September 9, 2018.

It will move between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Wednesday and Thursday, before approaching the southeastern USA coast, the NHC said in an advisory.

They are advising "interests along the U.S. East Coast, particularly from North Florida through North Carolina, should closely monitor the progress of Florence, ensure they have their hurricane plan in place and follow any advice given by local officials".

"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 NHC said Sunday.

Earlier Sunday Florence regained its hurricane status and rapid strengthening from here is expected since the storm is encountering less wind shear and warm waters.

The National Hurricane Center announced Sunday morning that Florence escalated into a hurricane with winds reaching 75mph as it swirls across the Atlantic. It did not immediately pose a threat to land.

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States of emergency were declared in the Carolinas, Virginia and Maryland.

The late Monday night update shows the model tracks shifting slightly north up North Carolina where it's expected to take aim at the southeastern coast.

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

Florencewill probably create more wind than Hurricane Hugo and more water than Hurricane Matthew, McMaster warned. If it comes well inland then a vast majority of the state will be impacted.

The NHC said Hurricane Florence will reach major hurricane status just before it makes landfall, with maximum sustained winds reaching 150 miles per hour.

"Even that forecast, if it came true, might be dire for North Carolina, since the model predicted that storm would stall out for several days just offshore, dumping massive amounts of rain over coastal North Carolina". It was moving west at 10 km/h. As a major storm, the hurricane is expected to produce life-threatening conditions.

Further to the east, forecasters are also watching hurricanes Isaac and Helene.

At 5 a, m., the center of Tropical Storm Isaac was located near latitude 14.6 North, longitude 48.1 West. As NPR's Bill Chappell reported, the town of Mountain View on the Big Island recorded 51.53 inches of rain as a result of Lane, the third-highest total ever measured from a USA storm. Weakening is forecast to begin by the middle of the week as Isaac approaches the Lesser Antilles.

Florence is moving west at under 10 miles per hour.

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