Florence Bears Down on East Coast as 'Potentially Catastrophic' Major Hurricane

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Goes-East weather-monitoring satellite captured an eye-opening loop of Florence churning in the Atlantic.

Forecasters said Florence could become an extremely risky major hurricane sometime Monday and remain that way for days. The center warns that such storms will snap or uproot most trees and down power poles and that power can be out in some areas for weeks or months.

The most threatening one is Hurricane Isaac which is expected to make landfall later this week in the Windward Islands - which includes Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, and Grenada - before heading toward the central part of the Caribbean. The National Hurricane Center shows tropical storm force winds nearing our region by Saturday.

"A turn toward the northwest is forecast to occur late Wednesday night", the 5 p.m. update stated.

SC governor Henry McMaster has ordered the evacuation of the entire 187-mile coastline of the Palmetto State, effective at noon on Tuesday, in anticipation of powerful Hurricane Florence approaching the east coast of the United States.

"It's too early at this point to be precise with how these impacts are going to stack up", he said, "but there is a huge potential someone is going to sustain devastating impacts as a result of this storm". Watches are usually put in place 48 hours before landfall and warnings come after that.

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Impacts from high wind, storm surge and inland river flooding could be "extreme", according to the weather service, especially considering the storm could stall over North Carolina, spinning bands of rain that could total 20 inches in some locations. Landfall may be Thurs.

Florence was about 575 miles south-southeast of Bermuda as of noon ET Monday, or about 1,230 miles from Cape Fear, North Carolina. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions. There is a very real possibility that Florence becomes a rare and risky Category 5 storm over the next 36 hours! Two other storms also are churning in the Atlantic.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster told up to one million residents of the state's eastern coast to leave their homes ahead of the powerful storm's arrival on Thursday.

Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order and declared a state of emergency September 7.

Cooper has already requested from President Donald Trump a federal disaster declaration to ensure North Carolina receives financial aid as soon as possible. In the Pacific from left to right you see Hurricane Olivia and Tropical Storm Paul. "Data from a NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that Florence has continued to rapidly strengthen". In South Carolina today, about 750 National Guard members were expected on duty.

"(R) esidents and guests of Beaufort County will be allowed to travel within county borders, until there is a need for lane reversals on USA 278 and US 21", a Monday evening message from the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office said, urging residents to leave by Tuesday.

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