Hurricane Florence strengthens to Category 4, heads toward Carolinas

Hurricane Florence strengthens to Category 4, heads toward Carolinas

Hurricane Florence strengthens to Category 4, heads toward Carolinas

Not long after, a Hurricane Hunter flight measured sustained winds near 130 miles per hour, prompting the National Hurricane Center to issue a rare special advisory, upgrading the storm to Category 4.

Hurricane Florence is intensifying and expected to transform into a major hurricane as it barrels toward the southeastern US coast, where forecasters expect a life-threatening storm surge, major flooding and damaging winds this week.

Olivia could weaken into a strong tropical storm within 48 hours, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu.

Florence is moving toward the west-northwest near 9 miles per hour.

The NHC said the centre of Florence is forecast to approach the coast of North or SC on Thursday.

States of emergency have been declared in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia as residents were told to "pretend, assume, presume" Hurricane Florence will make it to land from the Carribbean. The move will allow the state to use the National Guard for preparations and recovery if necessary.

Although neither of those situations was ideal, it means SC has gone through moving games before should Florence force it to do so again. The last was Hurricane Fran in 1996, which came ashore near Wilmington.

There is an increasing risk of storm surge at the coast and damaging hurricane-force winds in the Carolinas. State officials say 245,000 people live in the affected area, but officials warned the storm could affect the entire state.

Helene is a Category 2 storm that's even farther off the coast than both of the other storms, but it's not expected to ever make landfall.

Delta Air Lines also issued a notice that it was keeping an eye on the storm and would begin issuing waivers when Hurricane Florence's path became clearer.

With very little left ahead of it to push it in a different direction, a US landfall now looks likely somewhere between northern Florida and North Carolina on Thursday when Florence could be a strong Category 4 storm. It was picking up speed over the Atlantic's warm waters, causing concerns about landfall and flooding from heavy rains afterward, possibly late Thursday or Friday.

"I don't think many of us have ever been through a Category 4".

As a result, Florence "is expected to be an extremely risky major hurricane through Thursday", Sept. 13, said the NHC.

This week is the expected peak of hurricane season, according to forecasters, so seeing these active storms churning through the Atlantic right now isn't fully unexpected.

Immediately to the north of Virginia, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said his state was also was "preparing for the potential of historic, catastrophic and life-threatening flooding".

The US Navy said it was preparing to send about 30 ships stationed in Virginia out to sea.

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