Hurricane Florence Tracking Toward Carolinas Virginia Watches

Hurricane Florence Tracking Toward Carolinas Virginia Watches

The region is no stranger to hurricanes and powerful ocean storms, but Florence has many concerned.

"All interests from SC into the Mid-Atlantic region should ensure they have their hurricane plan in place and follow any advice given by local officials", the hurricane center said.

"I didn't feel like it was going to be bad enough to leave", Helms said.

Meanwhile, as scientists continue their debate, Hurricane Florence is set to cross seas a degree or more warmer than normal on its path to the USA east coast.

The storm rapidly intensified to Category 4 status Monday with sustained winds of 140 miles per hour.

The storm is expected to stall over North Carolina, slowly making its way across the state and into southwestern Virginia over the weekend.

More than 1.5 million people have already evacuated from the coastal areas of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia.

Crews also prepared 16 nuclear reactors in the three-state region for the storm. It took Matheson and her husband almost the whole day Monday to drive the 60 miles (100 kilometres) off the barrier island. "All you have to do is look up at your ceiling, and think about 12 feet (of water). This rainfall may produce life-threatening flash flooding". "Please be prepared, be careful and be SAFE!"

North Carolina's governor, Roy Cooper, said: "North Carolina is taking #HurricaneFlorence seriously, and you should too". He declared states of emergency for North and SC, which frees up help from federal agencies.

It is feared Florence could hit the Carolinas harder than any hurricane since Hurricane Hazel packed 209km/h winds in 1954.

Coastal North Carolina felt the first bite of Hurricane Florence on Thursday as winds began to rise, a prelude to the slow-moving tempest that forecasters warned would cause catastrophic flooding across a wide swath of the USA southeast. In the six decades since then, many thousands of people have moved to the coast.

The storm's first effects were already apparent on barrier islands as unsafe rip currents hit beaches and seawater flowed over a state highway - the harbinger of a storm surge that could wipe out dunes and submerge entire communities.

Hurricane Florence: North Carolina devastated by ‘CATASTROPHIC’ floods
Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but its unclear how many did. The No. 1 mission right now, Cooper said, is to save lives. "We've got nearly 20,000 people in 157 shelters", Cooper said.

The storm is now 845 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina.

States of emergency have been declared in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia in preparation for Florence's arrival.

"This storm is going to be a direct hit on our coast", said Jeff Byard, associate administrator for response and recovery at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The vessels would get underway from Naval Station Norfolk and Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek to avoid potential damage from winds and tidal surges, said Colonel Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesman.

The storm was getting bigger and better organized and is expected to continue to strengthen for the next day or so, the NHC said.

Even before it officially arrives, Florence will push tall waves far ahead of it. However, tropical storm force winds of 40 miles per hour could develop as early as Thursday morning.

Winds are expected to pick up and peak at around 150 miles per hour (241 kph), just shy of Category 5 status. It's expected to make landfall Thursday into Friday.

Hurricane Isaac is expected to lose strength as it reaches the Caribbean, and Helene, much farther out to sea, may veer northwards into the open ocean as the 2018 hurricane season reaches its peak.

Airlines, including American, Southwest, Delta and JetBlue, have begun letting affected passengers change travel plans without the usual fees. Even scarier: It could get more intense as it gets closer to the Carolinas. "We are expecting more wind than we had with Hugo and more water than we had with Matthew".

"You never know, there could be tree missiles coming from any direction", she said.

"This paper doesn't really say what we've had so far, if there's a trend", said Bhatia.

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