Published: Mon, September 10, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Hurricane Florence rapidly strengthening, takes aim at US

Hurricane Florence rapidly strengthening, takes aim at US

The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC), in an 11 a.m. ET update, said Florence is "forecast to rapidly strengthen to a major hurricane by Monday, and is expected to remain an extremely risky major hurricane through" Thursday, Sept. 13.

"While the impacts of Tropical Storm Florence to Virginia are still uncertain, forecasts increasingly expect the storm to strengthen into a major hurricane that could seriously affect the East Coast and Virginians", said Governor Northam.

But the gravest threat to the US remains Hurricane Florence, which is expected to strengthen to a major hurricane by Monday night and remain "an extremely unsafe major hurricane" through Thursday, according to the Hurricane Center.

"Take mid-August to mid-October, that period accounts for 87% of category 1 and 2 hurricane days and a staggering 96% of "major" hurricane days - (Categories 3, 4 and 5)", he said.

A rapidly strengthening Hurricane Florence churned across the Atlantic on Sunday toward a possible direct hit on the U.S. Southeast late this week, triggering warnings to people up and down the coast to get their emergency kits ready, map out escape routes and fill sandbags. The storm was centered about 750 miles southeast of Bermuda and moving west at 6 mph. It appears the storm is mostly likely to make landfall in North or SC by the end of the week, but it could still shift, and states in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast are being warned to brace for potentially historic storm effects.

The Navy said all ships in Virginia's coastal Hampton Roads area were preparing to leave port for open seas Monday.

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SC and Virginia declared states of emergencies to give residents time to make preparations for the severe weather.

Swells generated by Florence could cause unsafe rip currents and coastal flooding on Saturday in areas including coastal DE and New Jersey, the National Weather Service said. Forecasters also warned that the threat of a life-threatening storm surge was rising.

Henry McMaster, governor of SC, warned the USA should be braced for the hurricane to hit.

The probably path of Hurricane Florence as of September 9, 2018, estimating the landfall of the storm in the Carolinas at Thursday evening or Friday morning.

Forecasters say it is too soon to tell where Florence would go - some models show the storm slamming into land by late next week, while others indicate it will curve away from shore.

The three tropical systems - Florence, Isaac and Helene - come right before the Atlantic hurricane season hits its peak Monday. Those on the coast and inland from SC into the mid-Atlantic region should be on alert and have a hurricane plan in place, according to the agency.

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