Why Hurricane Florence Is So Dangerous

Jo Lloyd
September 12, 2018

Should Florence make landfall as a Category 4, it would be the first Category 4 hurricane since Hazel in 1954 to hit North Carolina.

Florence, now a Category 4 hurricane, is headed toward the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic states with 140 miles per hour winds and is expected to make landfall late Thursday or early Friday. SC and North Carolina have ordered evacuations for people living in vulnerable areas along the coast.

It's going to be a very tough week for travel as Hurricane Florence bears down on the East Coast of the United States. An hour later, at noon, the agency tweeted that Florence had grown again to a Category 4, with maximum sustained winds near 130 mph.

More than a million people are expected to flee low-lying areas, as SC and Virginia ordered mandatory evacuations of coastal areas starting on Tuesday.

As of Tuesday morning, hurricane force winds were extending up to 40 miles from the storm's center and "tropical storm force winds" were showing up as far away as 150 miles, said the National Weather Service. Other counties are evacuating low lying and flood prone areas.

Rick Leuttich directs the University of North Carolina's Institute of Marine Science Morehead City, and is one of the principal developers of the ADCIRC coastal circulation and storm surge model.

Coastal areas are likely to experience storm surges and the hurricane may dump heavy rains across the entire mid-Atlantic region, causing unsafe floods.

Forecasters said Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic, between Bermuda and the Bahamas, Tuesday and Wednesday - and approach the Carolina coast Thursday.

"That scenario has a high probability of occurring in North Carolina and Virginia and possibly portions of neighboring states in the Southeast, Appalachians and mid-Atlantic late this week and this coming weekend".

Rain from Hurricane Florence falling on this saturated ground will bring a widespread and severe flooding event.

Hurricane and storm surge warnings went up Tuesday along the coast of both Carolinas.

"Any amounts of money, whatever it takes, we're going to do it", Trump told reporters at the White House as he met with top aides and federal disaster officials.

It could weaken on Thursday, according to current predictions, but officials cautioned Florence will most probably remain "an extremely unsafe major hurricane through landfall".

A warm ocean is the fuel that powers hurricanes, and Florence will be moving over waters where temperatures are peaking near 30 degrees Celsius, hurricane specialist Eric Blake wrote.

Liz Browning Fox was planning to ride out the storm on the Outer Banks, defying evacuation orders.

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