Intensifying Hurricane Florence could strike U.S. Southeast

Arturo Kim
September 10, 2018

Forecasters said rapid intensification is likely to begin by tonight and Florence is expected to become a major hurricane by Monday.

Governors in both SC and Virginia declared a state of emergency Saturday to give their states time to prepare for the possible arrival of the storm.

"Rapid strengthening is forecast, and Florence is forecast to become a major hurricane this morning, and is expected to remain an extremely risky major hurricane through Thursday".

The storm's center will move northwest between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Unsafe swells generated by Florence affected Bermuda and have begun to reach parts of the Eastern Seaboard. Such swells can lead to unsafe surf and rip currents, the NHC warned.

Hurricane Isaac, with winds of 75 mph, is located roughly 1,300 miles east of the Windward Islands and is expected to continue moving westward, across the lesser Antilles and into the eastern Caribbean Sea, by Wednesday night or Thursday.

Florence should be a major Category 3 hurricane later Monday morning, and a Category 4 storm, with winds of 140 miles per hour, by Tuesday.

Helene is expected to go out to sea after passing the Cabo Verde Islands, but Isaac could be on a path to the Caribbean, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria almost a year ago.

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Even if a direct blow is avoided, if Hurricane Florence slows or stalls near the shore it could cause devastating inland flooding, by unloading a foot or two of rain.

The 2018 hurricane season lasts until November 30.

Hurricane Isaac is moving through the North Central Atlantic Ocean right now. Advisories warning of risky beach conditions or coastal flooding were in effect for parts of New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

Over the next 24 to 48 hours, wind shear around Florence will continue to decrease allowing the storm to rapidly intensify.

The storm's maximum sustained winds are near 110 km/h with higher gusts.

It stated there is an "increasing risk of life threatening hazards" from storm surge and heavy rainfall but noted it was too early to determine the exact location, timing and magnitude of these impacts.

Hurricane Florence strengthened on Sunday as it moved toward the United States, while officials from Florida to Virginia warned residents to prepare for the worst. It will likely become a major hurricane within the next day or two.

The third system - tropical Storm Helene is also strengthening.

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