Carolinas brace for potentially devastating Hurricane Florence

Carolinas brace for potentially devastating Hurricane Florence

Carolinas brace for potentially devastating Hurricane Florence

The storm is forecast to become a "major hurricane" Monday, travel between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday before approaching the southeastern USA coast on Thursday, the Miami-based weather center said.

Officials in North Carolina are already bracing for impact. Foremost among those is Tropical Storm Florence, which is expected to re-strengthen into a hurricane Sunday and looks increasingly likely to hit the East Coast.

Florence continues to defy easy prediction, but the latest projection is landfall in the Wilmington area at 2 a.m. Friday, but the Carolinas will feel the storm far in advance of that, NOAA is predicting.

It was moving west close to 7 mph, about 720 miles from Bermuda, the National Hurricane Center said.

A hurricane hunter plane found Florence strengthening quickly, reaching top winds of 85 miles per hour (140 kph) Sunday evening after crossing the 74 miles per hour threshold from tropical storm to a hurricane earlier in the day. The storm could impact anywhere from northern Florida to north of the Washington, D.C., area, producing life-threatening conditions.

The storm's maximum sustained winds are 65 miles per hour (100 kph) and it is moving west at 14 miles per hour (22 kph).

The latest forecast models have increased the likelihood that Florence will pose a serious direct threat to part of the Eastern Seaboard this week as a potentially major hurricane.

"Somebody is going to suffer devastating damage if this storms continues as it is now forecast", Dan Miller, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Columbia, told The State newspaper. Gradual strengthening is forecast and Florence could become a hurricane again over the weekend.

Florence is expected to strengthen into a hurricane next week and the governor says SC residents should begin preparing homes and property now.

Residents of the US East Coast are preparing for the storm's arrival as the National Weather Service warned on Monday that "Florence is forecast to bring devastating rainfall and flooding from the coast to the Appalachians".

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Residents in North Carolina and other East Coast states should pay attention to the storm and begin to think about hurricane plans.

Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency and is urging all North Carolinians to prepare.

The major hurricane is expected to travel between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday before reaching the United States on Thursday.

As the storm approaches, President Donald Trump on Monday approved a state of emergency for North Carolina.

By comparison, Hurricane Matthew was a weak Category 1 storm when it hit Columbus County in 2016.

Florence had reached Category 3 strength earlier Monday, but data from hurricane hunter aircraft indicate the storm is quickly getting stronger as it moves over warm Atlantic waters.

Advisories warning of unsafe beach conditions or coastal flooding were in effect for parts of New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

The Miami-based weather center said although the storm could intensify to a Category 4 hurricane by midweek, its path was still unclear.

"While it's still too early to know the storm's path, we know we have to be prepared", Gov. Cooper said.

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