1.5m ordered to evacuate before Florence

Gwen Vasquez
September 12, 2018

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

Hurricane Florence is now a Category 4 storm moving toward the west near 13 miles per hour.

Florence is now a Category 4 storm, reaching that status a day earlier than experts had predicted. Further out in the Atlantic, two storms - Helene and Isaac - gained hurricane force on Sunday.

"Florence is expected to be an extremely risky major hurricane through Thursday", the NHC said in a bulletin.

Hurricane Florence's offshore winds are causing swells and rip currents up and down the coast.

Isaac has lost some steam on its way to the Lesser Antilles, but the weather system is expected to remain "a strong tropical storm" as it gets closer to landfall, the National Hurricane Center (N.H.C.) said in its 5:00 a.m. advisory.

The fact both Hugo and Florence have rapidly strengthened to Category 4 hurricanes along the eastern seaboard in quiet years has caught the attention of hurricane researcher Jim Kossin.

East Coast Braces For Possible Category 4 Hurricane Florence, Tropical Storm Isaac Develops In Atlantic |

In its latest update, Helene is a Category 2 hurricane with 105 mph winds, and it is located 375 miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands, moving 16 mph to the west-northwest. Forecasters also cautioned that Hurricane Florence will "remain an extremely unsafe hurricane" as it tracks towards the mainland U.S. Even if you've ridden out storms before, this one is different. "The threat will be inland, so I'm afraid, based on my experience at FEMA, that the public is probably not as prepared as everybody would like", said Craig Fugate, former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Behind Isaac, Hurricane Helene is picking up strength, with twist paces of more than 105 miles per hour as of Monday afternoon. Typically, local governments in North Carolina make the call on evacuations. A turn toward the northwest is forecast to occur late Wednesday night as it approaches the coast of SC and North Carolina on Thursday. At 5am Monday, Isaac was moving toward the west at around 13mph and was expected to arrive in the eastern Caribbean Sea on Thursday. "We just happen to be right in the middle".

Aside from the winds of a hurricane of that magnitude, other threats include life-threatening storm surge and a prolonged flooding threat due to an expected slow-down in Florence's movement.

Maximum sustained winds were nearly 85 miles per hour Monday morning, the hurricane center said.

Isaac has become the fifth hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic season.

The governors of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia have issued emergency warnings in advance of the storm.

Florence could bring a deadly coastal storm surge, and inland flooding as far north as Virginia, the NHC said. The NHC expects Isaac to weaken as it approaches the Caribbean.

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