Hurricane Florence Expected to Become Major Hurricane Very Soon

Charlene Craig
September 11, 2018

Forecasters said rapid intensification is likely to begin by tonight and Florence is expected to become a major hurricane by Monday.

The Category 2 hurricane was gaining strength as it traveled over warm Atlantic waters, about 625 miles (1,006 km) southeast of Bermuda at 5 a.m. (0900 GMT), the National Hurricane Center said in an advisory.

If Florence continues on its current forecast track, life-threatening conditions will be possible in North Carolina and SC at the end of next week with unsafe storm surge and strong winds possible, in addition to flooding that would impact the coasts and areas further inland. Drawing energy from the warm water, it could be a fearsome Category 4 with winds of 130 miles per hour (209 kph) or more by Tuesday, the Miami-based centre said.

Hurricane Florence had maximum sustained winds of 90 mph as of 11 p.m. Sunday, and is 685 miles southeast of Bermuda, moving west at 7 mph.

McMaster and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper have asked President Donald Trump for a federal disaster declaration.

Several meteorologists said Florence could do what Hurricane Harvey did over Texas, dumping days of rain, although not quite as bad.

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Governors of Virginia, North Carolina and SC have declared states of emergency.

Florencewill probably create more wind than Hurricane Hugo and more water than Hurricane Matthew, McMaster warned.

Behind Isaac, Helene has strengthened with maximum sustained winds estimated to be at 105 miles per hour with higher gusts.

Meanwhile, the two other tropical storms in the Atlantic - Florence and Helen - are expected to become hurricanes today. The station, the largest naval complex in the world, said in a Facebook post that much of the base is prone to heavy flooding, especially the parking lots adjacent to the waterfront.

Southeastern North Carolina remains in the middle of the storm's "cone of uncertainty", with the cone extending from roughly Hilton Head, S.C., in the south to the Chesapeake Bay in the north.

The strength and orientation of an area of high pressure over the western Atlantic will be key to Florence's movement this week.

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"I don't think many of us have ever been through a Category 4". Tropical-storm-force winds could reach the coastal Carolinas by Wednesday night or Thursday morning. As a major storm, the hurricane is expected to produce life-threatening conditions.

Red flags flying on beaches warned swimmers to stay out of waters as seas began kicking up.

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". People rushed to get emergency kits ready, map out escape routes, fill sandbags and secure their homes. North Carolina has ordered the evacuation of more than 50,000 people from Hatteras and Ocracoke, the southernmost of its Outer Banks barrier islands. Whiteville's Lowes Home Improvement Store was doing a brisk business in plywood, duct tape, and generators Sunday afternoon.

"We will have to see if it tries to make a turn north next week", Bridges said.

Classes were canceled starting on Monday at the Wilmington campus of the University of North Carolina.

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