Hurricane tracker: Florence to hit USA as 'major hurricane' within days

Audrey Hill
September 12, 2018

An increase in forward speed is expected over the next couple of days.

National Weather Service officials in Honolulu urged residents to remain careful, noting that the difference between a Category 1 hurricane and a tropical storm is just 5 miles per hour wind speed.

The track of Florence is unusual in that its track has been farther north over the Atlantic than any other hurricane to hit the Carolinas, making forecasting it's track, speed and impacts vs historic storm impacts all the more challenging. A Category 5 storm has the potential to cause catastrophic damage.

There was little change in Florence's track during the 11 a.m. forecast from the National Hurricane Center.

And Florence and Mangkhut aren't alone as they compete to be the biggest storms on the planet; a staggering nine tropical systems are circling the globe right now, forming a band that stretches from the South China Sea to the central Atlantic. "This one really scares me", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said.

Still closer to Africa than North America, Helen is predicted to head north in the Atlantic and not make landfall, the center says.

The U.S. military said it was sending an advance team to Raleigh, North Carolina, to coordinate with federal and state partners.

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Florence, the most powerful Hurricane of the three, is expected to barrell through Bermuda and the Bahamas in the coming days before directly hitting the southeastern coast of the USA on Thursday. Gov. Roy Cooper declared North Carolina under a state of emergency last Friday.

Forecasters say the hurricane's strength is expected to fluctuate but it still will be a unsafe storm by the time it reaches the coast of SC or North Carolina on Thursday. It took Matheson and her husband almost the whole day Monday to drive the 60 miles off the barrier island. A year ago, people would have laughed off such a forecast, but the European model was accurate in predicting 60 inches for Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area, so "you start to wonder what these models know that we don't", University of Miami hurricane expert Brian McNoldy said.

The NHC said there is "an increasing risk of life-threatening impacts for Florence", citing "storm surge at the coast, freshwater flooding from a prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall event inland and damaging hurricane force winds".

The Atlantic hurricane season officially begins on June 1, and this year was forecasted to have a slightly above-average number of storms.

Considering Hurricane Florence is only growing stronger, let's just hope that these rainstorms are all we get. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 45 miles from the center.

A storm surge of two to four feet above normal tide levels is possible near and to the north of where the centre moves through the Lesser Antilles. It was moving to the west at 16 miles per hour with maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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