Florence set to become major hurricane, aims at US Southeast

Florence set to become major hurricane, aims at US Southeast

As of Sunday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) expected the Carolinas to begin to feel tropical-storm-force winds from Florence as early as Wednesday evening.

In the Pacific, Hurricane Olivia is now a Category 1 storm with winds of 75 mph, and is approximately 595 miles east-northeast of Hilo, Hawaii, as of 5 p.m. local time Sunday.

Forecasters said it is too early to know the exact path the storm will take but warned that it could roll ashore in the Carolinas by Thursday. "Florence is forecast to rapidly strengthen to a major hurricane by Monday, and is expected to remain an extremely unsafe major hurricane through Thursday", the advisory says.

The probably path of Hurricane Florence as of September 9, 2018, estimating the landfall of the storm in the Carolinas at Thursday evening or Friday morning.

Based off the latest forecast track from the NHC, Florence will approach the southeast USA coast by Thursday. Still, the storm would produce flooding rains across a large part of the U.S. South, expanding the damage, according to Enki Research's Watson.

Residents as far north as Virginia were warned that Florence posed an increasing risk of generating a life-threatening coastal storm surge, as well as flooding from heavy rainfall should the slow-moving storm stall over the southeast.

Isaac strengthened into the fifth hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic season on Sunday, the NHC said, and as of early Monday, it was about 1,230 miles east 1,305 miles (1,985 km) east of the Windward Islands with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kph). Tropical Storm Isaac is also strengthening over the eastern tropical Atlantic and is expected to become a hurricane by late Sunday.

Helene - now just southeast of the Cabo Verde islands off the African coast - had winds of 85 miles per hour, and was expected to turn northwest and then north into the open Atlantic by midweek, the NHC said.

President Trump, who received sharp criticism a year ago for his handling of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, took to Twitter Monday to urge East Coast residents to seek safety.

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South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster on Saturday declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the storm.

The late Monday night update shows the model tracks shifting slightly north up North Carolina where it's expected to take aim at the southeastern coast.

Florence is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir- Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

The National Hurricane Center update on Sunday afternoon had Florence roughly 720 miles southeast of Bermuda, with little chance of being weakened by upper level winds or cooler water.

Maximum sustained winds were clocked at 140 miles per hour (220 kph) as it moved west-northwest at 13 miles per hour (20 kph). As projected paths for Florence continue to change, Gov. Henry McMaster said during an update Sunday afternoon, "What that means for us in SC is that whatever happens, we're going to have a lot of rain and a lot of wind".

While the track of Tropical Storm Florence is still uncertain, it appears increasingly likely that Virginia may see significant impacts from this storm this week.

The hurricane roared from a Category 1 (90 mph) to a Category 4 (130 mph) in just 13 hours, an extremely rapid intensification, Colorado State University meteorologist Phil Klotzbach said. That heavy rain will come as a result of Florence not making a lot of movement away from the Carolinas after making landfall.

Hurricanes Isaac, which could hit Caribbean islands, and Helene, much farther out to sea, lined up behind Florence as the 2018 Atlantic season reached its peak. By 11 a.m. Monday, Florence became a major hurricane, with top sustained winds of 115 miles per hour.

Each line represents a computer model's best "guess" of where the center of the storm will go. The storm was moving west at 14 mph (22 kmh) and expected to accelerate over the next 36 hours.

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