Hurricane Florence will be felt ‘statewide,’ North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says

Muriel Hammond
September 12, 2018

"Florence is forecast to be a unsafe major hurricane near the southeast USA coast by late next week, and the risk of direct impacts continues to increase", the hurricane center said Saturday.

Florence is a 140-mph, major Category 4 storm, moving to the west-northwest at 13 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center's latest advisory. The storm was centered about 835 miles (1340 kilometers) southeast of Bermuda and moving west at 7 mph (11 kph). Drawing energy from the warm water, it could have top sustained winds of 130 miles per hour (209 kph) or more by Tuesday, the Miami-based center said.

Florence rapidly intensified into a fearsome category 3 hurricane Monday and could strike a direct and unsafe blow to the Carolinas later this week, possibly as a category 4, forecasters said.

Tropical Storm Florence is still moving westward in the Atlantic at 9 miles per hour. The storm is expected to strengthen into a major hurricane as it slowly moves toward the late next week.

Knox said residents in North Carolina should begin preparing, "When we put those orders out, when we tell people, 'this is a flood-prone area, ' that you need to find somewhere else to go, don't roll the dice".

Florence is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 15 to 20 inches and possibly 30 inches in some spots along its track over portions of North Carolina, Virginia and northern SC through Saturday.

Even if Florence avoids a direct hit on the East Coast, it will likely come very close, resulting in unsafe surf, beach erosion, and the potential for coastal flooding.

Officials in North Carolina were already preparing for impact.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management is encouraging all residents of Virginia to prepare for impacts from this storm in case it makes land fall.

The storm's center was on track to pass between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Wednesday, the NHC said. And with little wind shear to pull the storm apart, Florences hurricane wind field was expected to expand over the coming days, increasing its storm surge and inland wind threats.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said his state was "in the bullseye" of the storm and urged people to "get ready now".

The National Hurricane Center forecasts Florence will be a unsafe major hurricane near the southeastern USA coast by late next week, "and the risk of direct impacts continues to increase".

By comparison, Hurricane Matthew was a weak Category 1 storm when it hit Columbus County in 2016. The first shows the probabilities of more than a tenth of an inch of precipitation through early next Sunday. The hurricane could make landfall possibly as a Category 3 or higher on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale.

Forecasters at the NHC said Florence would continue to strengthen and "is expected to remain an extremely risky major hurricane through Thursday".

Isaac was about 1,305 miles (2,100 km) east of the Windward Islands on Sunday with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 km/h), the NHC said. "This means that Florence is likely to be a very powerful hurricane as it moves over the western Atlantic toward the southeastern United States". Hurricanes Helene and Isaac are not expected to hit the U.S. mainland. Its winds weakened Thursday when it returned to tropical storm status.

A westward motion is forecast to continue through the end of the week, with Isaac expected to move across the Lesser Antilles and into the eastern Caribbean Sea Wednesday night or Thursday.

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