Hurricane Florence, Isaac, Helene Tropical Update

Pat Wise
September 12, 2018

A west-northwestward motion with an increase in forward speed is expected during the next couple of days.

As astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) saw first-hand on Monday morning, hurricanes Isaac and Helene are trailing behind Florence, making for a trio of powerful storms.

Beyond the damage from wind and high surf, Hurricane Florence is anticipated to slow over the Carolinas where it might dump up to 30 inches of rain over quite a bit of North and SC. Moving west-northwest near 17 miles per hour with a turn to the northwest expected on Wednesday, Helene is not expected to pose any threat to land.

And Hurricane Florence will take aim at the Southeast coast of the United States late this week, likely as a major hurricane.

As a rapidly strengthening Hurricane Florence aims at Southeast coast, behind it Hurricane Helene, Tropical Storm Isaac and one other potential tropical storm are all brewing.

The governor of Maryland has declared a state of emergency in preparation for significant flooding from Hurricane Florence.

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.

In addition, the National Hurricane Center said that it will likely issue watches for "life-threatening storm surge" across three states.

11 a.m. update: Florence strengthens into hurricane
EDT, the Miami-based hurricane center said Florence's maximum sustained winds were estimated to be 65 miles per hour (100 kph). AccuWeather meteorologist Brett Rossi said the ground in North and SC and Virginia is already saturated from recent rains.

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"Additional strengthening was expected over the next day or two". It will then turn north-northwest on Wednesday and Thursday.

Florence has re-intensified into a Hurricane, while Tropical Storm Helene and Isaac continue to churn in the Atlantic.

Governor Kenneth Mapp has called a 10:00 a.m. press conference for Tuesday at Government House on St. Croix, to address the territory relative to Tropical Storm Isaac and the government's preparedness efforts. "We're just a strip of land - we're a barrier island", she said.

"There is an increasing risk of two life-threatening impacts from Florence: Storm surge at the coast and freshwater flooding from a prolonged heavy rainfall event inland", the National Hurricane Center said Sunday.

The tropics have come alive over the weekend with three hurricanes in the Atlantic and an area in the western Caribbean that warrants watching for the state of Texas through this week. So far, the storm has caused the death of at least 19 people in North Carolina and destroyed thousands of homes in it's path.

A warm ocean gives hurricanes their fuel, and Florence is moving over an area with water temperatures nearing 85 degrees (30 Celsius), hurricane specialist Eric Blake wrote.

"Satellite imagery indicates that the maximum sustained winds have increased to near 105 miles per hour (165 km/h) with higher gusts", the NHC said in its latest advisory.

The US Navy said it was sending almost 30 ships from coastal Virginia out of port to ride out the storm.

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