Hurricane Florence strengthens, churns toward U.S. Southeast coast

Gwen Vasquez
September 11, 2018

Florence's maximum sustained winds jumped from 75 to 85 miles per hour as its speed increased from 7 to 8 miles per hour, the hurricane center said.

The NHC was also tracking two other hurricanes farther out in the Atlantic.

The National Hurricane Center forecasts Florence to hit the shore late Thursday night or early Friday morning.

Here are the 5 AM EDT Key Messages for Hurricane #Florence. It's expected to strengthen through Tuesday before beginning to weaken. Even before the evacuation order, Dare County emergency officials warned that rough seas and strong rip currents already were creating risky conditions. Emergency declarations were issued by the governors in both states, as well as in Virginia and Maryland.

In Charleston, South Carolina, along the coast, city officials offered sandbags to residents.

Most computer models predict Florence will slow down as it moves inland, Hennen said, which could add to the heavy rains and potential floods.

"Pretend, assume, presume that a major hurricane is going to hit right smack dab in the middle of South Carolina and is going to go way inshore", South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said.

Residents as far north as Virginia were warned that Florence posed an increasing risk of generating a life-threatening coastal storm surge, as well as flooding from heavy rainfall should the slow-moving storm stall over the Southeast.

Several meteorologists said Florence could do what Hurricane Harvey did previous year over Texas, dumping days of rain, although not quite as bad.

Several meteorologists said Florence could do what Hurricane Harvey did past year over Texas, dumping days of rain, although not quite as bad.

They are advising "interests along the U.S. East Coast, particularly from North Florida through North Carolina, should closely monitor the progress of Florence, ensure they have their hurricane plan in place and follow any advice given by local officials".

The forecast track shows Florence's forecast path approaching the southeast USA coastline late next week.

More news: Now is the time to prepare for Hurricane Florence

Florence is moving west at under 10 miles per hour.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam's office described Florence as possibly the state's "most significant hurricane event in decades", warning of "catastrophic inland flooding, high winds and possible widespread power outages".

In 1954, Hazel came ashore near Calabash, N.C., with 130-mph winds and an 18-foot storm surge.

September 9 - The South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) said they had raised their emergency levels to "OPCON3" in preparation for what they said was the possibility of Florence becoming a major hurricane affecting the state.

At a press conference on Sunday afternoon, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said Florence is expected to become a Category 4 hurricane with winds that could reach up to speeds of 150 miles per hour.

Hours before Isaac became a hurricane, Helene strengthened into one.

The governors of SC and Virginia declared states of emergency on Saturday.

Trump tweeted Monday afternoon that the federal government was monitoring the storm and was ready to help.

Ilija Cesal told the newspaper he wouldn't worry about buying extra water or other supplies for a few more days. Hugo in 1989 was the one before that and was a Category 4 at landfall.

Myrtle Beach hardware stores and supermarkets were busy ringing up sales of bottled water, plywood and generators. In Jacksonville, North Carolina, about 20 miles inland, some residents picked up hurricane supplies during their normal weekend shopping, The Daily News reported.

"I'll see by Wednesday how that goes - we got over 48 hours before that happens", Cesal said. The University of North Carolina at Wilmington canceled classes as people stocked up on supplies.

The Navy said all ships in Virginia's coastal Hampton Roads area were preparing to leave port for open seas. While Helene is forecast to slide out to sea away from land, Isaac is a very real threat in the Caribbean later this week, the hurricane center said.

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