Florence Strengthens, Takes Aim At The Carolinas

The NOAA Coastal Watches  Warnings and Forecast Cone for Hurricane Florence as of 5 a.m. Monday

Around one million people have been ordered to evacuate from the SC coast as the state and neighboring North Carolina brace for a hit from Hurricane Florence, the most powerful storm to take aim at the USA mainland this year.

It's expected to become at least a Category 3 hurricane before it hits the mainland US around SC and North Carolina, likely on Friday morning, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Monday.

The NOAA run National Hurricane Center said in its latest update, "Satellite data indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 115 miles per hour (185 km/h) with higher gusts".

The New Jersey and DE coastlines will feel the effects from Florence by Tuesday afternoon regardless as swells increase and risky rip currents begin.

However, the NHC says that swells generated by Florence are affecting Bermuda and are beginning to reach portions of the U.S. East Coast.

Hurricane Florence's top winds exploded to 130 miles (209 km) per hour, making it a Category 4 storm, just one-step short of the most severe level as it pushed westward toward the U.S. East Coast.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster also declared a state of emergency on Saturday, and South Carolina's Emergency Management Division urged South Carolina residents to begin preparing their property for Florence's effects.

"We here in North Carolina are bracing for a hard hit", Cooper said during a press conference outlining the state's preparations. Hurricane Helene is expected to turn north into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, according to the National Hurricane Center.

According the US-based National Hurricane Centre at 1pm, the storm had maximum sustained winds of 130mph.

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As of 11 a.m., Florence was centered about 580 miles south-southeast of Bermuda, moving west at 13 mph.

Isaac is one of three hurricanes in the Atlantic as of Monday.

In 1989, Hurricane Hugo grew to a Category 4 storm before coming ashore near Charleston, South Carolina, where it caused about $14.1 billion in damage when adjusted for inflation, making it the 13th costliest USA storm, according to Hurricane Center records.

As Hurricane Florence grows stronger, meteorologists say it could hit the Carolinas later this week.

An animation of GOES-16 weather satellite imagery shows Florence strengthening from a tropical storm into a Category 1 hurricane at 15 UTC on Sunday, September 9, 2018. North Carolina seems to be the state that could bear the brunt of the winds, along with SC and parts of southern Virginia.

Heavy rain in the Washington area over the weekend has already led to flooding in historic Alexandria, Virginia, local media reported, and the National Weather Service issued a flood watch for part of the Potomac River. Given the way Florence intensified before it seems either are possible over the coming few days.

Both Tropical Storm Isaac and Tropical Storm Helene are expected to reach hurricane strength but neither is considered a threat to Bermuda.

Dare County officials ordered everyone to leave Hatteras Island on Monday.

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