TROPICS: Florence expected to produce damaging winds in Carolinas

Hugh Fox
September 11, 2018

Florence is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

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

Hurricane Florence is gearing up to pound the eastern US coastline as it racks up maximum winds of 220 km/h, making it an "extremely dangerous" storm system which strength is only expected to grow. At around 12 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT), the National Hurricane Center (NHC) announced that Hurricane Florence had strengthened to a Category 4 storm.

Navy ships off Virginia's coast are getting ready to sail out of the path of the powerful hurricane and one North Carolina university has cancelled classes.

As Hurricane Florence approaches the East Coast of the United States, the governors of Virginia, North and SC have issued mandatory evacuation orders affecting hundreds of thousands of residents in coastal areas.

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A BP gas station in Wilmington, North Carolina - where the storm was predicted to land - was out of gas for about two hours on Monday evening, said assistant store manager Nadine Schrock. "We have already began mobilizing our assets to respond accordingly, and we are here for you!"

Hurricane response crews from the U.S. Geological Survey are installing storm-tide sensors at key locations along the North and SC coasts in advance of Hurricane Florence. Cooper said he had asked Trump to declare a federal state of emergency for North Carolina.

"I'll see by Wednesday how that goes - we got over 48 hours before that happens", Cesal said.

Hurricane Florence will make its way westward, likely toward the Carolinas later this week while Hurricane Isaac moves westward toward the Caribbean. Cotton, corn and soybean fields, along with massive hog and poultry facilities lie in Florence's forecast path.Smithfield Foods Inc., the No. 1 hog producer, and chicken producer Sanderson Farms Inc. saw North Carolina operations disrupted in 2016 in flooding from Hurricane Matthew.

There have been six tropical storms in the Atlantic basin this year.

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Immediately to the north of Virginia, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said his state was also was "preparing for the potential of historic, catastrophic and life-threatening flooding".

Officials in North Carolina have already issued mandatory evacuation orders for coastal Dare County and Hatteras Island.

As meteorologist Stu Ostro of The Weather Channel reports via Twitter, since 1851, only four Category 4 hurricanes have made landfall north of Florida on the East Coast.

Experts have forecast the upgraded tropical storm will gather force - going from a category 1 hurricane to a category 3 on Monday morning.

First, here's a map from the National Hurricane Center showing a forecast cone and coastal watches and warnings.

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