Tracking the tropics: Three hurricanes brewing in the Atlantic

Muriel Hammond
September 12, 2018

Hurricane Florence has slightly increased in speed as it heads toward the U.S. East Coast.

Maximum sustained winds were clocked at 140 miles per hour (220 kph) as it moved west-northwest at 13 miles per hour (20 kph).

Forecasters say Florence will pass between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday and start its approach to the US on Thursday morning.

"Moderate to rough seas will gradually rise to very rough in the south and east with building southeasterly swells from Hurricane Florence".

The National Hurricane Center downgraded Isaac to a tropical storm overnight but said Tuesday that it could be "at or near hurricane levels" on Thursday, when it approaches the Lesser Antilles Islands.

As of 11 a.m. EDT on Monday, Florence has been upgraded to a Category 4 storm.

Florence was a Category 4 storm late afternoon Monday.

"We expect a rapid intensification of Florence tomorrow", Dennis Feltgen, a spokesman for the National Hurricane Center, said on Sunday.

Any of these storms could strengthen into more powerful cyclones in the coming days.


The storm's center will move northwest between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday. The state's emergency management agency said it is "preparing for the possibility of a large-scale disaster".

Isaac is expected to be near hurricane strength when it moves through the central Lesser Antilles, with some weakening forecast afterward on Friday.

South Carolina's governor ordered the state's entire coastline evacuated starting at noon Tuesday and predicted that 1 million people would flee as highways reverse directions. A turn toward the northwest and then north-northwest is forecast on Wednesday and Thursday.

"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. It took Matheson and her husband almost the whole day Monday to drive the 60 miles off the barrier island. Main impacts with these storm are going to life-threatening storm surge, flooding, damaging hurricane-force winds, and unsafe rip currents along the East Coast.

It is growing more likely that the system will have a direct impact on the Carolinas.

Hurricane Isaac, much farther out to sea, has become the fifth named hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic season, the hurricane center added.

Mandatory coastal evacuations were in effect for civilians in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, but the military base posted on Facebook that different chains-of-command would decide whether to release non-essential personnel, and some relatives vented fears that they wouldn't be able to evacuate in time. Hurricane Isaac, churning in the mid-Atlantic Ocean with wind speeds of around 75 miles per hour, is following closely behind Florence.

The hurricane's impacts could range from a strong storm surge to flooding from torrential rainfall and hurricane-force winds. This could produce devastating flooding in areas far inland from the coast and exacerbate coastal flooding and erosion by prolonging the lashing on the beaches.

Hurricane Florence isn't the only storm churning in the Atlantic Ocean.

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