'We're in the bullseye' of storm

'We're in the bullseye' of storm

The National Hurricane Center upgraded Florence twice Monday, saying the storm will continue to strengthen as it targets the Carolinas later this week.

The hurricane has already reached category 4, with winds up to 130 miles per hour.

Storm surge and hurricane watches may be issued early Tuesday for portions of southeastern U.S. states, the NHC said.

Hurricane Florence is likely to make landfall early Friday in North Carolina, prompting evacuations from the Carolinas to Virginia.

The storm's first effects were already apparent on barrier islands as unsafe rip currents hit beaches and seawater flowed over the road.

In South Carolina alone, more than 1 million residents and tourists are expected to flee from coastal areas, Gov. Henry McMaster said Monday, vowing that state officials "are not going to gamble" with people's lives.

Florence was located about 410 miles south of Bermuda and 975 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, on Tuesday at 5 a.m.

After Florence makes landfall, that ridge, now over Washington and NY, will move east - but be replaced by another one forming over the Great Lakes that will likely keep the storm stuck, McNoldy said.

"This is a very risky hurricane", McMaster said, adding that the evacuation order for coastal counties was "mandatory, not voluntary".

The storm's potential path includes half a dozen nuclear power plants, pits holding coal-ash and other industrial waste, and numerous hog farms that store animal waste in massive open-air lagoons.

Hurricane Florence Tracking South
Wednesday, Florence was 435 miles from Wilmington, N.C., moving northwest at 16 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. Florence could be the worst hurricane to hit the Carolinas in over 60 years since category 4 hurricane "Hazel" struck in 1954.

But the landfall intensity of that storm was 250 km/h when it hit Puerto Rico, it added.

Having grown up in storm-prone Florida, LaRoche said she's careful not to underestimate any hurricane.

"I'm telling them to go inland, but I'm anxious about the rain and tornadoes too", Roberts said. "If you are given an evacuation order, please comply immediately before roads get clogged and chaos commences".

Lining up behind Florence, Isaac was about 1,150 miles east of the Windward Islands with top winds of 75 mph early Monday, accelerating on a path to cross into the lower Caribbean Thursday as a weak hurricane.

"All indications are that the storm will slow down and just crawl or meander over the inland sections and the coastal Piedmont", Weather Channel hurricane expert Bryan Norcross said. "We know it's going to hit somewhere where it's going to have a dramatic impact on SC".

President Donald Trump tweeted the federal government stood prepared to assist the governors of the USA states affected.

Gov. Henry McMaster says he's preparing the state for winds as powerful as Hurricane Hugo, which plowed inland almost 30 years ago and caused devastating damage.

In the eastern Pacific Ocean, forecasters are keeping a close watch on Tropical Storm Paul and Hurricane Olivia.

"We are not going to gamble with the lives of the people of South Carolina", McMaster said.

With little wind to pull the storm apart, Florence's hurricane wind field is expected to expand over coming days, increasing its storm surge and inland wind threats. "Wind could move water into the tidal Potomac and the Chesapeake Bay", Pallozzi says, emphasizing that those flooding concerns will mainly be along the coastline of the rivers. "Get ready now", he said.

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