Hurricane Florence targets US East Coast

ABC News

McMaster has already declared a state of emergency in SC and asked President Donald Trump for a federal declaration ahead of the storm, which intensified Monday to a potentially catastrophic Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 130 miles per hour (195 kph).

The storm's sustained winds reached 75 mph, just over the threshold for a hurricane, as it made its way across the Atlantic, about 750 miles southeast of Bermuda, the National Hurricane Center said.

NOAA NWS National Hurricane Center/Handout via REUTERSA photo taken from the International Space Station by astronaut Ricky Arnold shows Hurricane Florence over the Atlantic Ocean in the early morning hours of September 6, 2018. The National Hurricane Center said it was still too early to predict the hurricane's exact path. "Thus, the intensity forecast is raised from the previous one, bringing Florence close to Category 5 strength tomorrow", NHS said. "These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions". The state's emergency management agency said it is "preparing for the possibility of a large-scale disaster". Thus, you should stay alert in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, especially along the coasts. Once winds in Florence increase to 96 miles per hour, it will be a category 2 hurricane.

Heavy rain and potential flooding and mudslides are a growing concern, more so than winds.

The storm "is too powerful and its path is too uncertain to take any chances", South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said in issuing his state's emergency declaration.

"There is an increasing risk of life-threatening impacts from Florence: storm surge at the coast, freshwater flooding from a prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall event inland, and damaging hurricane-force winds", the hurricane center said.

Florence is expected to travel between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday before approaching the southeastern USA coast on Thursday. Hurricane-to-tropical-storm-force winds could extend inland, depending on the storm's track.

Florence is now classified as a Category 1 hurricane, and is currently expected to hit the southeastern coast of the U.S.

Florence is officially a hurricane churning off the Eastern U.S. and the latest tracks have shifted to a bit north, but South Carolinians should continue to prepare for a major storm headed toward our shores, state officials said Sunday.

The order issued Saturday by Gov. Ralph Northam helps mobilize resources to prepare for the storm, mitigate any damage and streamline the process Virginia uses to send assistance to other states.

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August 28 - Florence formed as a tropical wave off of the west coast of Africa.

"I dont think many of us have ever been through a Category 4. If you see a business taking advantage of this storm, please let my office know so we can hold them accountable", Stein said.

In coastal Charleston, South Carolina, city officials offered sandbags to residents, while Myrtle Beach officials urged people to secure their homes.

Ilija Cesal told the newspaper he wouldn't worry about buying extra water or other supplies for a few more days.

At a Home Depot in Wilmington, North Carolina, Billy Nivens told CNN they ran out of water, plywood, generators, flashlights, propane, batteries and five-gallon gas cans by Monday afternoon.

North Carolina crews were getting bulldozers and chain saws ready.

In Jacksonville, North Carolina, about 20 miles from the coast, some residents picked up hurricane supplies during their normal weekend shopping, The Daily News reported.

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

Meanwhile, crowds formed at supermarkets starting Sunday as people tried to stock up on supplies.

The US navy has ordered ships at its major base in Hampton Roads, Virginia, base to put to sea, saying "the forecasted destructive winds and tidal surge are too great to keep the ships in port".

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