Airlines Preparing for Impact of Hurricane Florence

Olive Hawkins
September 12, 2018

Should Florence make landfall as a Category 4, it would be the first Category 4 hurricane since Hazel in 1954 to hit North Carolina.

"While it is too soon to determine the exact timing, location and magnitude of these impacts, interests at the coast and inland from SC into the mid-Atlantic region should closely monitor the progress of Florence, ensure they have their hurricane plan in place, and follow any advice given by local officials".

Hurricane Florence rapidly strengthened into a potentially catastrophic Category 4 storm on Monday as it closed in on North and SC.

The NHC says Florence will rapidly strengthen to become a major hurricane - meaning Category 3 or higher, with sustained winds of at least 111 miles per hour (178 km/h) - later this morning.

"The bottom line is that there is increasing confidence that Florence will be a large and extremely unsafe hurricane, regardless of its exact intensity, " Blake said.

By the time it reaches the USA mainland, the NHC says Florence will strengthen into "an extremely unsafe major hurricane".

Category 4 hurricanes reach sustained winds of 130-156 miles per hour and USA Today reported that SC emergency management officials said they were "preparing for the possibility of a large-scale disaster".

Cooper asked for a federal disaster declaration on behalf of North Carolina to ensure the state can get federal aid as soon as possible.

The United States was hit with a series of high-powered hurricanes past year, including Hurricane Maria, which killed about 3,000 people in Puerto Rico, and Hurricane Harvey, which killed 68 and caused an estimated $1.25 billion in damage from catastrophic flooding in Houston.

The governors of Virginia, Maryland, and North and SC have declared states of emergency ahead of the storm.

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"If the track were to shift more westward, that would put Charlotte at more risk for both wind and flooding", he said, possibly including heavy rain in the headwaters of the Catawba River, which flows toward Charlotte.

"The largest threat to life from hurricanes is not the high winds", it said. "But on rare occasions, the steering patterns can line up such that a storm slips into a dead zone between troughs and ridges".

Here is a look at the earliest arrival time of tropical storm force winds.

Large swells are already affecting Bermuda and parts of the U.S. East Coast, according to the NHC.

"Everyone in North Carolina needs to keep a close eye on Florence and take steps now to get ready for impacts later this week", Cooper said.

The northern coast of SC and the Outer Banks of North Carolina are likely to be the areas most impacted by the storm, which could cause $15.3 billion in damage, said Chuck Watson, a disaster researcher at Enki Research in Savannah, Georgia.

By noon Monday, Florence was centered about 1,230 miles (1,985 kilometers) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, and moving west at 13 mph (20 kph).

Hurricane Isaac - which late Sunday became the fifth hurricane of the season - is heading west towards the Caribbean.

Isaac is expected to gain strength in the next day or two before beginning to weaken mid-week when it approaches the Lesser Antilles.

Maria - which killed at least 3,057 people, most in Puerto Rico - is believed to be the third-costliest tropical cyclone on record.

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