Hurricane Florence Gaining Strength, Speed

Cristina Cross
September 12, 2018

As of 11 a.m. on Monday, Florence is now a Category 3 hurricane and will likely strengthen into a Category 4 sometime late tonight.

The NHC said: "All indications are that Florence will be an extremely unsafe Category 4 hurricane while it moves over the western Atlantic toward the southeastern United States".

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center say Florence rapidly intensified Monday morning to a potentially catastrophic Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 130 miles per hour (mph). Most models say it should weaken but they have one that says it will grow into a major hurricane in the Caribbean, which will be something oil traders are watching very closely.

There are three storms that meteorologists have their eyes on and there's likely more to come.

Hurricane Florence was traveling over warm Atlantic waters and gaining energy as it moved 625 miles southeast of Bermuda Monday.

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"You never know, there could be tree missiles coming from any direction", she said.

The US military said it was sending an advanced team to Raleigh, North Carolina, to coordinate with federal and state partners and that about 750 military personnel will be set aside to provide support.

It is expected to become a major hurricane by Monday night.

As of 5 a.m., Florence was centred about 625 miles southeast of Bermuda, moving west at 9 miles per hour.

"Make your plans now", South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster urged residents during a Sunday afternoon news conference.

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Public schools and state agencies in 26 counties will also be closed Tuesday until further notice, authorities said. A total of 177 health-care facilities, including 19 hospitals, also are being evacuated.

Gradual weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours, but Olivia is expected to remain a tropical storm as it moves over the main Hawaiian Islands. The evacuation zone includes the most flood-prone coastal areas, Northam said.

"Right now it's 625 miles South of Bermuda, with 105 mph winds".

The United States faced a series of high-powered hurricanes a year ago, including Hurricane Maria, which killed some 3,000 people in Puerto Rico, and Hurricane Harvey, which caused an estimated US$1.25 billion in damage when it brought catastrophic flooding to Houston.

"Large swells and high threats of rip currents associated with Tropical Storm Florence will produce life-threatening ocean conditions along Cape Hatteras National Seashore (Seashore) beaches", the statement said.

Cooper and his counterparts in neighbouring SC and Virginia ordered about 1 million people to evacuate coastal homes, including along the Outer Banks barrier islands. North Carolina and Virginia have taken similar steps.

- Both North and SC are under states of emergency as Hurricane Florence looks to strike the Carolina coast.

If it turns north, it will only do so after making landfall, Eck said. Those two states, as well as Virginia, have declared a state of emergency while they prepare.

"The storm is strong and getting stronger", Cooper said.

Hurricane Florence is seen from the International Space Station as it churns in the Atlantic Ocean towards the east coast of the United States, September 10, 2018.

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