One million told to evacuate ahead of 'extremely dangerous' Hurricane Florence

11 September, 2018, 00:32 | Author: Grady King
  • Florence expected to become hurricane, heading to southeast US

Hurricane Florence intensified Monday, becoming a Category 4 storm, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Hurricane Florence, which was upgraded to a Category 4 storm Monday, is expected to make landfall somewhere near North Carolina and SC late Thursday or early Friday.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper's office said Florence is already being felt along the state's coast, with large sea swells resulting in life-threatening rip currents and surf. Such swells can lead to unsafe surf and rip currents, the NHC warned.

As of 11 a.m., Hurricane Florence is now a Category 3 storm, and is likely to strengthen.

The hurricane has turned west-northwestward, and high pressure is forecast to propel Florence on a course putting it on track for the southeastern coast of the US.

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The NHC said: "Isaac is a small hurricane and uncertainty in the forecast is higher than normal".

Still closer to Africa than North America, Helen is predicted to head north in the Atlantic and not make landfall, the center says.

But authorities were taking no chances as the governors of North and SC and Virginia declared states of emergency far ahead of the approaching storm.

"This is not the time to take a chance... we do not want to gamble with a single SC life", McMaster said.

Preparations for Florence come as the Atlantic hurricane season hits its peak.

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Lining up behind Florence, Isaac was about 1,150 miles (1,855 kilometres) east of the Windward Islands with top winds of 75 mph (120 kph) early Monday, moving west at 14 mph (22 kph). While the cone of uncertainty still covers most of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, prediction models of the storm indicate it's headed toward some area between Charleston, S.C. and North Carolina's Outer Banks.

Florence is being followed across the Atlantic by two other Hurricanes, Isaac and Helene, which are yet to reach the same size or intensity as Florence. Already, state Emergency Management staff are coordinating with the counties and State Emergency Response Team partners to identify potential needed resources, said NC Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry.

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

Hurricane Helene is in the far eastern Atlantic Ocean and not expected to be near any land.

In Guam, Typhoon Mangkhut - a Category 4 storm - narrowly missed dealing a direct blow to the island. Mandatory evacuations have begun along North Carolina's coast.

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