Florence strengthens 'rapidly,' now powerful Category 4 hurricane

Olive Hawkins
September 11, 2018

Forecasters said it was too soon to determine the exact timing, location and magnitude of storm surges and flooding Florence will cause.

North Carolina residents similarly need to make their own preparations by stocking up on water, non-perishable foods and batteries, getting medications and important documents in order and clearing debris from their yards, Cooper said.

"Everyone in Dare County is encouraged to evacuate as soon as possible regardless of the established time frames", the county announced.

A warm ocean is the fuel that powers hurricanes, and Florence will be moving over waters where temperatures are peaking near 85 degrees, hurricane specialist Eric Blake wrote.

"We are taking Hurricane Florence seriously".

There's a lot of time for the storm to intensify, change path or die down, though.

Florence has been upgraded to a Category 4 hurricane and is forecast to strike the east coast this week.

Helene, now classified as a tropical storm, is, according to the latest NHS advisory, expected to become a hurricane soon as well. Far behind Florence is Hurricane Isaac, which had maximum sustained winds at 75 miles per hour (120 kph).

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This news about Hurricane Olivia comes just weeks after Hurricane Lane brought 3-4 feet of rainfall to parts of Hawaii. Even before the evacuation order, Dare County emergency officials warned that rough seas and strong rip currents are already creating unsafe conditions. Already, state Emergency Management staff are coordinating with the counties and State Emergency Response Team partners to identify potential needed resources, said NC Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry. North Carolina seems to be the state that could bear the brunt of the winds, along with SC and parts of southern Virginia. Storm surge warnings will be published closer to the date if necessary.

Similar scenes were repeated up and down the US East Coast, from Virginia to Savannah, Georgia.

Once it makes landfall, Florence is predicted to stall and remain over North Carolina for at least 24 hours - increasing the threat of risky flooding, NHC director Ken Graham said on Monday.

The Navy said all ships in Virginia's coastal Hampton Roads area were preparing to leave port for open seas. SC emergency management officials said they were "preparing for the possibility of a large-scale disaster".

Henry McMaster has ordered a mandatory evacuation starting at noon Tuesday for the state's entire coastline in anticipation of Hurricane Florence. "We are asking for authorization in advance to. get reimbursed for expenses, for people, machinery and assets we may need to clean up and fix whatever damage results from what is now a hurricane".

"Plan for the worst, pray for the best".

National Hurricane Center says Isaac is a very small hurricane and its intensity could fluctuate as it approaches the Caribbean.

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