Powerful Florence still churning toward NC coast

Audrey Hill
September 12, 2018

"The forecast places North Carolina in the bull's eye of Hurricane Florence, and the storm is rapidly getting stronger", Cooper said.

Storm Surge and hurricane watches are likely be issued for the Carolina coast - including Southeastern N.C. - on Tuesday.

Forecasters said early Monday afternoon that data indicated Florence has maximum sustained winds near 130 miles per hour and a minimum central pressure of 946 millibars (27.93 inches).

It is expected to become a major hurricane by Monday night.

The center of Florence was forecast to sweep between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday before making its assault on the USA coast.

The Charlotte region has a better than 50 percent chance of seeing tropical storm-force winds (between 39 and 73 mph) later this week, according to the latest forecasts from the National Hurricane Center.

At 5 a.m., the center of the Category 2 hurricane was about 625 miles southeast of Bermuda.

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.

Henry McMaster (R) on Monday ordered a mandatory evacuation of the state's coastline ahead of Hurricane Florence's expected arrival on Thursday. Damaging winds, floods, high surf and storm surge are still possible.

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The hurricane is set to inundate low-lying islands off the coast of North Carolina, like the Outer Banks and other barrier islands, according to the NHC's "cone of probability" forecast. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles from the center.

A warm ocean is the fuel that powers hurricanes, and Florence will be moving over waters where temperatures are peaking near 85 degrees, hurricane specialist Eric Blake wrote.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) says Hurricane Helene is now located about 375 miles west of the southernmost Cabo Verde Islands. Its projected landfall is "still fluctuating depending on which models you look at".

The European model paints the most aggressive forecast for central Georgia and shows wind gusts between 30 and 40 miles per hour for Sunday as the remnants of Florence drift to the south over SC.

"With this order government agencies will begin to mobilize in anticipation of a hurricane", McMaster said.

AccuWeather meteorologist Brett Rossi said the ground in North and SC and Virginia is already saturated from recent rains. SC ordered an estimated 1 million people to evacuate its coast.

In the western Carolinas and Georgia, the National Weather Service says rain and wind from the system will impact the area as early as Thursday and continue through the weekend.

The Navy said all ships in Virginia's coastal Hampton Roads area were preparing to leave port for open seas.

Florence is now one of three hurricanes spinning in the Atlantic Ocean, along with Helene and Isaac.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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