Published: Wed, September 12, 2018
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

Hurricane Florence Strengthens, Poses Major Threat to Southeast and Mid-Atlantic

Hurricane Florence Strengthens, Poses Major Threat to Southeast and Mid-Atlantic

A continued west-northwestward motion with a decrease in forward speed is expected through late Tuesday, followed by a turn toward the northwest and then north-northwest on Wednesday and Thursday.

The storm is expected to strengthen to Category 4 strength before making landfall late this week.

About halfway between Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Helene is the small but unsafe Tropical Storm Isaac, which was downgraded from hurricane status early this morning (Sept. 11).

The main concern continues to be Florence as the hurricane will be a direct threat to the US later this week.

The National Hurricane Center downgraded Isaac to a tropical storm overnight but said Tuesday that it could be "at or near hurricane levels" on Thursday, when it approaches the Lesser Antilles Islands.

Florence is so wide that a life-threatening storm surge was being pushed 300 miles ahead of its eye, swirling clouds that could deluge states from SC to OH and Pennsylvania as it slows and then stalls over land.

Lining up behind Florence, Isaac was about 1,150 miles east of the Windward Islands with top winds of 75 mph early Monday, moving west at 14 mph.

In addition, the National Hurricane Center said that it will likely issue watches for "life-threatening storm surge" across three states.

Feltgen said it's important that people don't get "hung up on the cone", and prepare for the possibility of impacts in areas outside of it.

Both Tropical Storm Isaac and Tropical Storm Helene are expected to reach hurricane strength later today, but neither are considered potential threats.

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Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, but no federal emergency has been declared in the nation's capital.

"Pretend, assume, presume that a major hurricane is going to hit right smack dab in the middle of SC and is going to go way inshore", McMaster said at a press conference. It took Matheson and her husband almost the whole day Monday to drive the 60 miles off the barrier island.

The storm is expected to make landfall by Friday, according to the NHC, likely somewhere in the Carolinas.

"You're going to get heavy rain, catastrophic life-threatening storm surge, and also the winds", Graham said.

Winds of tropical storm force could reach Puerto Rico Thursday evening.

The governors of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia have issued emergency warnings in advance of the storm.

Sustained winds on Tuesday afternoon approached 105 miles per hour, making it a very strong Category 2 storm, though it was expected to gradually weaken over cooler waters. That means, she said, that the Wilmington region is going to be affected by what she said is going to be a major hurricane that could reach category 4 strength, which means maximum sustained winds of 130 to 156 miles per hour.

Florence has become even stronger over the Atlantic Ocean.

The Atlantic hurricane season that usually starts in June, has now peaks on September 10.

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