Hurricane Florence expected to make landfall on North Carolina on Thursday

Hugh Fox
September 11, 2018

"None of the guidance suggest that Florence has peaked in intensity", the Hurricane Center said, predicting that its peak winds will reach 155 miles per hour Tuesday, just 2 miles per hour shy of Category 5.

Hurricane-force winds could buffet the Carolinas by Wednesday night with landfall likely in SC and North Carolina on Thursday, followed by heavy rains that could cause flooding in much of the US Southeast, the NHC said. That means, she said, that the Wilmington region is going to be affected by what she said is going to be a major hurricane that could reach category 4 strength, which means maximum sustained winds of 130 to 156 miles per hour.

Florence crossed the 74 miles per hour threshold from tropical storm to hurricane Sunday morning, and by evening its winds were up to 85 miles per hour (140 kph) as the National Hurricane Center warned it was expected to become an extremely unsafe major hurricane by Monday and remain that way for days. The evacuation zone includes the most flood-prone coastal areas, Northam said.

Hurricane Florence is now a category 3 hurricane and continues its westerly course according to the National Hurricane Center's latest update. The hurricane could make a run at category 5 status, and for now is forecast to be a high end category 4 by late tomorrow with winds of 150 miles per hour.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper urged his state's residents to get ready, noting the storm was generating swelling waves and unsafe currents.

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A warm ocean is the fuel that powers hurricanes, and Florence will be moving over waters where temperatures are peaking near 85 degrees (30 Celsius), hurricane specialist Eric Blake wrote. "I plan to do most of my cooking on the grill". Tropical-storm-force winds could reach the coastal Carolinas by Wednesday night or Thursday morning.

The hurricane is projected to make a direct hit on the East Coast, somewhere along the coast of North Carolina, South Carolina or Virginia.

Florence is now a category two hurricane but is expected to become a major hurricane by the end of today.

Red flags flying on beaches warned swimmers to stay out of waters as seas began kicking up.

"A high-pressure ridge building to the north and northwest of Florence is expected to steer the hurricane west-northwestward to northwestward at a much faster forward speed over the southwest Atlantic during the next few days". People rushed to get emergency kits ready, map out escape routes and fill sandbags and secure their homes. All three states have declared states of emergency. Whiteville's Lowes Home Improvement Store was doing a brisk business in plywood, duct tape, and generators Sunday afternoon.

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"It's too early at this point to be precise with how these impacts are going to stack up", he said, "but there is a huge potential someone is going to sustain devastating impacts as a result of this storm".

The US navy has ordered ships at its major base in Hampton Roads, Virginia, base to put to sea, saying "the forecasted destructive winds and tidal surge are too great to keep the ships in port".

Florida-based Carnival Cruise Line was re-routing its cruise ships, but there were other hurricanes to contend with.

The University of North Carolina at Wilmington, near the shore, canceled its upcoming alumni weekend and all classes starting at noon Monday, encouraging its students to leave campus for a safer location.

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