Hurricane Florence Strengthens, Poses Major Threat to Southeast and Mid-Atlantic

Pablo Tucker
September 12, 2018

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

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

The latest forecast from the National Hurricane Centre said the storm winds have reached 75mph (120kph), which means it is now at hurricane strength.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 30 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles. While larger than Katrina (which was 415 miles wide), it still has a ways to go to reach the record width of 1,000 miles from Hurricane Sandy in 2012. And with little wind shear to pull the storm apart, Florence's hurricane wind field was expected to expand over the coming days, increasing its storm surge and inland wind threats, and raising the likelihood of life-threatening freshwater flooding. In the Pacific from left to right you see Hurricane Olivia and Tropical Storm Paul. "For perspective, that's nearly *double* the previous all-time record for an East Coast hurricane".

"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.

"Florence has continued to rapidly strengthen", it said. However, the entire east coast is warned to be on high alert in case the storm's path further shifts, and of course, the impacts will expand far beyond the storm's initial landfall. He said the city's emergency operations center will be partially activated Wednesday and fully activated on Thursday.

The powerful Hurricane Florence threatened to bring "days and days" of rain and potentially deadly flooding to the United States southeast coast, North Carolina's governor warned on Tuesday, as some 1 million people were ordered to evacuate their homes.

As the danger became clear over the weekend, the governors of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia all declared states of emergency. The Weather Channel warned of a "disastrous" level of flooding for parts of the area.

The Navy planned to send ships from the Hampton Roads area of Virginia out to sea.

There are three storms that meteorologists have their eyes on and there's likely more to come.

Sustained winds on Tuesday afternoon approached 105 miles per hour, making it a very strong Category 2 storm, though it was expected to gradually weaken over cooler waters. "Due to these conditions, Superintendent David Hallac is strongly urging all beach visitors to stay out of the Atlantic Ocean until risky conditions subside".

At this height of the Atlantic hurricane season, Florence was being trailed on east-to-west paths by two other hurricanes, Helene and Isaac.

"It is still potent, risky storm".

An evacuation has already been ordered for Cape Hatteras, but don't wait for hurricane watches and warnings to make a plan, Eck said.

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