East Coast Prepares for Storm Surge as Hurricane Florence Gains Strength

SC
Hurricane Florence South Carolina Still In Danger Zone
System stalks east coast

Further strengthening is expected, as Florence moves toward North and SC, where it could unleash its fury as the most powerful storm to hit the region in three decades.

The first effects of what forecasters are already calling a large and extremely risky hurricane were already being seen on barrier islands Monday as unsafe rip currents and seawater flowed over the state highway.

Florence had maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour, making it a Category 1 storm on the five-level Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale.

"Further strengthening is anticipated, and Florence is expected to be an extremely risky major hurricane through Thursday", the National Hurricane Center said. "You're going to get a staggering amount of rainfall", Ken Graham, director of the National Hurricane Center, said in a Monday afternoon video presentation.

In advance of the storm, assemble your emergency kit including food, water, medications, pet supplies and important documents that you will need to take with you if asked to evacuate in short order.

"There is an increasing risk of two life-threatening impacts from Florence: storm surge at the coast and freshwater flooding from a prolonged heavy rainfall event inland", a forecaster from the National Hurricane Center said.

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As Hurricane Florence approaches the East Coast, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington encouraged its students to leave campus for a safer location. Storm surge and freshwater flooding from rainfall could become life-threatening risks, especially from SC through the mid-Atlantic.

That's because Florence will reach areas that have already experienced a lot of rain in recent weeks - and it won't take much for flash floods to start in these regions. It would be the eighth costliest storm in US history. Hurricane-to-tropical-storm-force winds could extend inland, depending on the storm's track.

The storm's potential path also 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.

"Pretend, assume, presume that a major hurricane is going to hit right smack dab in the middle of South Carolina and is going to go way inshore", South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said.

Florence is moving toward the west-northwest near 15 miles per hour.

"These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip currents", the hurricane center said. "On Wednesday, the hurricane will likely turn northwestward and slow down somewhat due to another ridge forming over the Ohio Valley".

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A Category 3 hurricane packs winds of between 111 and 129 miles per hour, the hurricane center said.

Landfall is expected in the Carolinas later this week, said the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC).

At 5 a, m., the center of Tropical Storm Isaac was located near latitude 14.6 North, longitude 48.1 West.

A westward motion is forecast to continue through the end of the week, with Isaac expected to move across the Lesser Antilles and into the eastern Caribbean Sea Wednesday night or Thursday. Florence now has maximum sustained winds of 115 miles per hour, and gusts up to 140 miles per hour, making it a major hurricane capable of doing "devastating" damage. Certain areas of Brunswick, Currituck, Dare, Hyde, New Hanover, and Onslow counties are affected, and more orders are expected Tuesday.

The estimated minimum central pressure is 997 mb (29.44 inches). An increase in forward speed is expected over the next couple of days.

Here is the NHC's latest forecast bubble ...

SC declares emergency ahead of Tropical Storm Florence
Issac is expected to gain strength in the next days, but then weaken by the middle of the week when it approaches the Caribbean. Over the next 24 to 48 hours, wind shear around Florence will continue to decrease allowing the storm to rapidly intensify.


The Meteorological Service of Jamaica said at 4:00 am Sunday, Tropical Storm Isaac was centred about 2,475 kilometers east of the Windward Islands.

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