NHC Forecast: Hurricane Florence is rapidly strengthening

Jo Lloyd
September 11, 2018

Hurricane Florence is now a Category 4 storm with 140 miles per hour winds, according to the latest update from the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC), which warned that the storm will likely strengthen.

Amtrak is canceling service south of Washington, ahead of Hurricane Florence.

Historically, 90 per cent of fatalities from hurricanes, tropical storms and tropical depressions have been caused by water, NHC spokesman Dennis Feltgen said. The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang said the storm is expected to strengthen to 150 miles per hour just before landfall somewhere along the Southeast or Mid-Atlantic coast Thursday night.

Florence is expected to remain an extremely unsafe major hurricane through Thursday.

A mandatory evacuation order takes effect Tuesday at noon in eight counties along South Carolina's 187-mile coastline.

"There is still time to prepare but the window to do so is starting to close", he said.

Initial predictions didn't quite pan out this year - so far, we've had nine named storms and five hurricanes.

Schools, state government offices and medical facilities will be evacuated, too, McMaster said.

Ralph Northam, Governor of Virginia, has mandated the evacuation of Zone A, the lowest-lying areas of coastal Virginia and the Eastern Shore at 08.00am on Tuesday morning. "Everyone in Virginia needs to prepare", he said.

"People that have typically not been exposed to them will now be exposed to them, because the storms are going to move deeper inland and affect more people", climate scientist Cindy Bruyere, who studies storms at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, previously told Business Insider.

Residents of coastal areas are boarding up homes and packing their bags as residents brace for Florence's wrath.

"Damaging hurricane-force winds are likely along portions of the coasts of SC and North Carolina".

The United States was hit with a series of high-powered hurricanes past year, including Hurricane Maria, which killed about 3,000 people in Puerto Rico, and Hurricane Harvey, which killed 68 and caused an estimated US$1.25 billion in damage from catastrophic flooding in Houston.

Similar scenes were repeated up and down the US East Coast, from Virginia to Savannah, Georgia.

Some officials have already begun taking early precautions.

"When GPM observed Florence, the intensifying storm had maximum sustained winds of about 70 knots (81 mph) at that time and was still a tropical storm", NASA reported in their most recent storm update. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months.

About an hour after the Category 3 upgrade, the storm was reclassified once again, now as Category 4. Well-built homes can lose walls and roofs.

Hurricanes are also getting windier, wetter, and more powerful because of climate change. Electricity and power can go out for days. The governors of both states declared states of emergency. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said flooding could be catastrophic if it hits the state.

The US military said it was sending an advance team to Raleigh, North Carolina, to coordinate with federal and state partners. He encouraged people to learn evacuation routes and put fuel in their vehicles in case they're ordered to leave. At that point the storm was centred about 1,170 miles (1,880 km) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, the NHC said. "Action today can avoid losses due to Florence".

Oosterwyk was gathering tax documents and other important papers from her store on Monday, and said she planned to drive 150 miles (240 km) inland to ride out the storm in the town of Cary. Hurricanes Helene and Isaac are not expected to hit the U.S. mainland.

Florence is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

Storms increase in frequency and intensity by mid-August and into September as temperatures in the Atlantic climb to their highest levels, Javaheri said.

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