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

Hurricane Florence strengthens to a Category 3 storm

Hurricane Florence strengthens to a Category 3 storm

Forecasters expect Florence to become a Category 3 storm again as early as Monday and predict it will continue to get stronger as it approaches the East Coast.

On the forecast track, the center of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas Tuesday and Wednesday, and approach the southeastern U.S. coast on Thursday.

Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency Saturday in anticipation of the potential impact from Tropical Storm Florence. The storm is expected to strengthen into a major hurricane as it slowly moves toward the late next week.

At this point, its exact landfall location is very hard to determine as Florence will eventually make a NW and then north turn.

The storm's sustained winds reached 121 km/h, just over the threshold for a hurricane, on Sunday morning as it was moving across the Atlantic, about 1,210 km/h southeast of Bermuda.

Computer-model forecasts generally project the storm to make landfall between northern SC and North Carolina's Outer Banks as a Category 4 on Thursday, although shifts in the track are possible and storm impacts will expand great distances beyond where landfall occurs.

Hurricane Florence continues to grow in size and strength as it barrels toward the U.S. East Coast.

Florence could bring a life-threatening coastal storm surge, and inland flooding as far north as Virginia, the NHC said.

The Miami-based center said in its 5 a.m. ET advisory that Florence was moving west northwest at 9 miles per hour.

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A tropical storm warning and hurricane watch are in effect for the Cabo Verde islands of Santiago, Fogo, and Brava.

"I'm telling them to go inland, but I'm anxious about the rain and tornadoes too", Roberts said.

"This storm is too powerful and its path is too uncertain to take any chances", he said.

At present Florence has maximum winds of 70mph.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said his state was "in the bullseye" of the storm and urged people to "get ready now".

North Carolina officials on Monday ordered residents to evacuate the state's Outer Banks barrier islands beginning on Monday ahead of Hurricane Florence, the first major hurricane to threaten the eastern United States this year.

Residents of the entire Atlantic Coast, from New England to Florida, are being urged to monitor Florence and make preparations. Gov. Henry McMaster issued a State of Emergency in response.

In southeast Virginia, Naval Station Norfolk told not to leave their vehicles at the sprawling base later this week because of the flood threat.

Storms increase in frequency and intensity by mid-August and into September as temperatures in the Atlantic climb to their highest levels, Javaheri said. As of Saturday evening, the hurricane was 1,190 miles east of Honolulu. The Navy planned to send ships from the Hampton Roads area of Virginia out to sea.

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