Hurricane Florence Now Cat 4 Storm, Carolinas Bracing For The Worst

Olive Hawkins
September 11, 2018

Hurricane Florence's top winds exploded to 130 miles (209 km) per hour, making it a Category 4 storm, just one-step short of the most severe level as it pushed westward toward the U.S. East Coast. Forecasters said Florence was expected to become an extremely unsafe major hurricane sometime Monday and remain that way for days. Florence is expected to maintain strength as it makes landfall.

The governors of North and SC and Virginia have all declared states of emergency ahead of the approaching storm.

According to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, a Category 4 storm means 'Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls.

Lining up behind Florence, Isaac was about 1,150 miles (1,855 kilometres) east of the Windward Islands with top winds of 75 mph (120 kph) early Monday, moving west at 14 mph (22 kph).

“Swells generated by Florence are affecting Bermuda and are beginning to reach portions of the US East Coast.

Florence was the first Category 4 hurricane of the Atlantic season, but weakened as it passed through cooler waters.

GFS weather models and some of the hurricane forecast models show particularly bad scenario outcomes for Florence, involving a major hurricane landfall around the Carolina's, followed by a curve north and up the coast slightly before heading back out to sea.

Over the next 36 hours, Florence's winds could reach 150 mph, the hurricane center says.

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Helene is expected to go out to sea after passing the Cabo Verde Islands, but Isaac could be on a path to the Caribbean, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria almost a year ago.

The US government has been criticized for its response to Maria in Puerto Rico, a US commonwealth in the Caribbean. North Carolina and Virginia have taken similar steps.

Helene, now classified as a tropical storm, is, according to the latest NHS advisory, expected to become a hurricane soon as well.

"Everyone in Dare County is encouraged to evacuate as soon as possible regardless of the established time frames", said a statement from Dare County Emergency Management statement.

We here in North Carolina are bracing for a hard hit.

And the timing couldn't be more apt: Monday is the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season, when storm activity is historically at its highest. Two other storms also are churning in the Atlantic.

In the Pacific, Tropical Storm Olivia is set to sweep through the Hawaiian islands Tuesday, where tropical storm watches have been posted.

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