South Carolina declares emergency ahead of Florence

Audrey Hill
September 12, 2018

Florence crossed the 74 miles per hour threshold from tropical storm to hurricane Sunday morning, and by evening its winds were up to 85 miles per hour (140 kph) as the National Hurricane Center warned it was expected to become an extremely risky major hurricane by Monday and remain that way for days.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper also urged his state's residents to get ready, noting the storm already was generating swelling waves and unsafe currents along the coast.

Forecasters said Florence was expected to become an extremely unsafe major hurricane sometime Monday, and remain that way for days.

Florence was upgraded twice Monday, from Category 3 to 4, prompting evacuation orders in coastal areas of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

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

Large swells are expected to pound Bermuda and the U.S.'s East Coast.

Swells generated by Florence could cause unsafe rip currents and coastal flooding today in some areas including coastal DE and New Jersey, according to the National Weather Service.

Hurricane Florence on Sunday had winds moving at 75 mph, and was 750 miles southeast of Bermuda, moving west at 6 mph.

Though weakened to a tropical storm, Florence was expected to regain hurricane strength as it neared Bermuda. A tropical storm becomes a hurricane when maximum sustained winds reach at least 74 miles per hour. It did not immediately pose a threat to land.

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The size of hurricane-force winds doubled over 12 hours from 30 to 60 miles across, the National Hurricane Center said Monday afternoon. It would also mean a "massive rain event" from as far north as Virginia all the way down to SC.

"While it's still too early to know the storm's path, we know we have to be prepared", he said in a written statement.

Residents of the entire Atlantic Coast, from New England to Florida, are being urged to monitor Florence and make preparations.

Officials in North Carolina are already bracing for impact.

This NOAA/RAMMB satellite image taken at 12:15:31 UTC on September 10, 2018, shows Hurricane Florence off the USA east coast in the Atantic Ocean.

The biggest threats include flooding and damaging winds. The island state is still recovering from Hurricane Lane, which brought flooding rains to many areas last month.

Hurricanes Helene and Isaac are not expected to hit the United States mainland.

A third tropical storm has formed in the eastern Atlantic Ocean.

The Navy said all ships in Virginia's coastal Hampton Roads area were preparing to leave port for open seas. The South Carolina governor ordered the states entire coastline to be evacuated starting at noon Tuesday and predicted that 1 million people would flee.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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