Quantcast

Category 4 Hurricane Florence Forecast to Hit East Coast

Climate
NOAA satellite image shows Hurricane Florence as it travels west southeast of Bermuda on Sept. 10. NOAA via Getty Images

After starting off as a tropical storm, Florence has rapidly intensified and is expected to become a major hurricane that could make landfall in North and South Carolina later this week.

The storm is now a Category 4 hurricane, the National Hurricane Center's Atlantic branch tweeted in its latest update Monday.


"Florence has continued to rapidly strengthen and has maximum sustained winds near 130 mph (195 km/h) and a minimum central pressure of 946 mb (27.93 inches)," the agency wrote.

Meteorologist Eric Holthaus tweeted Sunday that Florence "is going to be about the size of North Carolina when it arrives."

Holthaus added that if Florence arrives on the coast as a Category 4, it could "potentially become the strongest East Coast hurricane landfall in recorded history."

Category 4 winds range from 130-156 mph and can cause catastrophic damage to properties, humans and animals.

"Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months," the National Hurricane Center explains.

National Hurricane Center

Florence, which is about 580 miles southeast of Bermuda, is moving at a speed of 13 mph (20 km/h), with an increase in forward speed expected during the next couple of days, the hurricane center announced Monday. It is forecast to approach the coast of South Carolina or North Carolina on Thursday.

Swells generated by Florence are already affecting Bermuda and portions of the U.S. East Coast.

"These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions," the hurricane center said.

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said Monday that Florence could be the most powerful storm to strike the area in three decades, and bring water up to 15 feet high along the coast and dump up to 20 inches of rainfall in inland locations over the next four to five days.

The National Weather Service Eastern Region also predicts damaging impacts from heavy rainfall and flooding.

"In addition to potential life-threatening storm surge at the coast, indications are that Florence may slow down by the end of the week, resulting in prolonged heavy rainfall & dangerous freshwater flooding inland. Rainfall forecast is very preliminary, please continue to monitor," the agency tweeted Sunday.

The National Hurricane Center advised the region's residents to have a hurricane plan in place and to follow any advice given by local officials.

The governors of Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina have each declared states of emergency in anticipation of Florence.

"With this order government agencies will begin to mobilize in anticipation of a hurricane," South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster ‏ tweeted over the weekend. "Now is the time for your family also to prepare and stay tuned for more updates. Plan for the worst, pray for the best."

The National Hurricane Center is also monitoring hurricanes Helene and Isaac in the Atlantic, but they are not expected to hit the U.S. mainland.

Visit Ready.gov for hurricane preparedness tips.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Coral restoration in Guam. U.S. Pacific Fleet / CC BY-NC 2.0

By Erica Cirino

Visit a coral reef off the coast of Miami or the Maldives and you may see fields of bleached white instead of a burst of colors.

Read More
Cracker Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana. Jacob W. Frank / NPS / Flickr

By Jason Bittel

High up in the mountains of Montana's Glacier National Park, there are two species of insect that only a fly fishermen or entomologist would probably recognize. Known as stoneflies, these aquatic bugs are similar to dragonflies and mayflies in that they spend part of their lives underwater before emerging onto the land, where they transform into winged adults less than a half inch long. However, unlike those other species, stoneflies do their thing only where cold, clean waters flow.

Read More
Sponsored
Augusta National / Getty Images

By Bob Curley

  • The new chicken sandwiches at McDonald's, Popeyes, and Chick-fil-A all contain the MSG flavor enhancement chemical.
  • Experts say MSG can enhance the so-called umami flavor of a food.
  • The ingredient is found in everything from Chinese food and pizza to prepackaged sandwiches and table sauces.

McDonald's wants to get in on the chicken sandwich war currently being waged between Popeyes and Chick-fil-A.

Read More
Protesters march during a "Friday for future" youth demonstration in a street of Davos on Jan. 24 on the sideline of the World Economic Forum annual meeting. FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Youth climate activists marched through the streets of Davos, Switzerland Friday as the World Economic Forum wrapped up in a Fridays for Future demonstration underscoring their demand that the global elite act swiftly to tackle the climate emergency.

Read More
chuchart duangdaw / Moment / Getty Images

By Tim Radford

The year is less than four weeks old, but scientists already know that carbon dioxide emissions will continue to head upwards — as they have every year since measurements began leading to a continuation of the Earth's rising heat.

Read More