Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Hurricane Florence strengthens, churns toward U.S. Southeast coast

TROPICS: Florence to become a hurricane today; TD 9 strengthening State of emergency called in North Carolina as tropical storm Florence nears US East Coast
Ebony Burgess | 10 September, 2018, 12:11

Florence has now been upgraded to a category one Hurricane and according to the National Hurricane Center (NOAA) has maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour. It poses no threat to land at the time, the center said.

Rapidly intensifying Hurricane Florence could strike a direct and unsafe blow anywhere from the Carolinas to the Mid-Atlantic region later this week.

In South Carolina, Charleston city officials were offering sandbags for residents to fill.

Navy ships off Virginia's coast are getting set to sail out of the path of the powerful hurricane, one North Carolina university has canceled classes and people have begun stocking up on plywood, bottled water and other supplies even with Florence still far out at sea southeast of Bermuda.

Naval Station Norfolk says its employees should not leave their vehicles parked at the sprawling Virginia base in coming days because of the possibility of flooding from approaching Hurricane Florence.

The governors of North and SC and Virginia have already declared states of emergency, but winds and flooding caused by Florence could do serious damage even if it remains offshore. Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune urged people to secure their homes but said it was too early to know if evacuations will be ordered.

Florence is moving toward the west near 9 km/h, and this general motion is expected to continue today. All university-sponsored events and athletics, including Fall Family and Alumni Weekend (Sept. 14-15), the women's soccer match vs. ECU on Thursday (Sept. 13) and the Hampton Inn Seahawk Invitational women's volleyball tournament (Sept. 14-15) are canceled.

In addition, in order to avoid Tropical Storm Isaac, the cruise line reversed the schedule for Carnival Vista.

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Cooper said officials will hold a briefing on storm preparations at 11 a.m. Monday, but urged residents on Sunday to familiarize themselves with evacuation routes and have a plan for pets if the storm hits.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said in a statement Sunday that coastal and inland residents alike need to get ready for potentially heavy rainfall and flooding from the storm.

McMaster said he had asked President Donald Trump to declare a federal emergency in SC in anticipation of the storm's arrival. Forecasters predicted it would become a unsafe Category 4 storm before a possible landfall Friday.

Isaac strengthened into a hurricane Sunday night, hours after Helene, too, became a hurricane.

Forecasters say Tropical Storm Florence has turned into a hurricane and is swirling toward the East Coast for what could be a direct hit toward the end of the week. It was moving west at 6 miles per hour.

The storm has sustained winds of 75 miles per hour.

"We learned about flood modeling and we were able to compare different flood scenarios with the different paths [the storm] might take, so we can predict where flooding might occur and we can deploy our resources", he said.

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