Intensifying Hurricane Florence could strike USA southeast

Pat Wise
September 12, 2018

Last night, The National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's hurricane hunter has found that Florence is strengthening, and is forecast to become a major hurricane on Monday.

The NHC expects the hurricane's winds to strengthen to 130 miles per hour as it moves east by Tuesday, drawing energy from the warm water.

"To the incredible citizens of North Carolina, South Carolina and the entire East Coast - the storm looks very bad!"

As of 5 a.m., Florence was centred about 625 miles southeast of Bermuda, moving west at 9 miles per hour. "These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions", officials said.

Forecasters said Florence could become an extremely unsafe major hurricane sometime Monday and remain that way for days.

The northern coast of SC and the Outer Banks of North Carolina are likely to be the areas most impacted by the storm, which could cause $15.3 billion in damage, said Chuck Watson, a disaster researcher at Enki Research in Savannah, Georgia.

"Pretend, assume, presume that a major hurricane is going to hit right smack dab in the middle of SC and is going to go way inshore", McMaster said at a press conference.

Ryan Deeck, a Walmart grocery department manager in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, said, according to Myrtle Beach Online: "Literally, they are filling buggies full of water, shopping carts full of water".

"The largest threat to life from hurricanes is not the high winds", it said.

Behind Isaac, Hurricane Helene is rapidly gaining strength, with wind speeds of over 105 miles per hour.

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The storm's potential path also includes half a dozen nuclear power plants, pits holding coal-ash and other industrial waste, and numerous eastern hog farms that store animal waste in massive open-air lagoons.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said in a statement on Sunday: "Review your emergency plans and gather your supplies now".

"Today, let me be clear.North Carolina is taking Hurricane Florence seriously, and you should too".

The National Hurricane Center warned that it would likely bring devastating storms and floods to those regions.

The largest U.S. Marine Corps base on the East Coast, Camp Lejeune and its extensive beachfront northeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, lie within the NHC's forecast "cone" for possible landfall.

"If the track were to shift more westward, that would put Charlotte at more risk for both wind and flooding", he said, possibly including heavy rain in the headwaters of the Catawba River, which flows toward Charlotte.

The US Navy said it was preparing to send about 30 ships stationed in Virginia out to sea.

Storm surge and hurricane watches may be issued Tuesday morning for portions of southeastern U.S. states, the NHC said.

The mayor of Richmond has declared a state of emergency as Virginia's capital city braces for significant rain from Hurricane Florence. "We're just a strip of land - we're a barrier island", she said.

Historically, hurricanes that approach the East Coast have been driven away by the jet stream that stretches across the northern United States after dropping down from Canada.

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