Published: Tue, September 11, 2018
Research | By Francis Brooks

NASA sees Hurricane Florence open an evil-looking eye

NASA sees Hurricane Florence open an evil-looking eye

Hurricane Florence is on the brink of becoming a major storm, strengthening rapidly as it rolls across the Atlantic Ocean toward the U.S. East Coast.

As of 5 a.m. ET Monday, Hurricane Florence's center was about 625 miles southeast of Bermuda and was moving west-northwest at a speed of 9 mph.

The center of the hurricane is forecast to move across the Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas tomorrow and Wednesday (Sept. 11-12), before approaching the southeastern coast of the US on Thursday. "For perspective, that's nearly *double* the previous all-time record for an East Coast hurricane". The first impacts were already being seen on barrier islands as unsafe rip currents and seawater flowing over a coastal road.

Hurricane Florence is quickly gaining strength in the Atlantic Ocean as it moves on a track for a direct strike on the East Coast, turning into a powerful Category 3 storm with 115 miles per hour winds on Monday morning.

"Further strengthening is anticipated, and Florence is expected to be an extremely risky major hurricane through Thursday", NHC officials warned in another advisory. Wherever it lands, it won't move much for three or four days, creating a storm surge and wind event, Osterberg said.

Mike Sprayberry, director of the state Division of Emergency Management, said the storm could have statewide impacts, from storm surge and high winds along the coast to flooding inland.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper's office said Florence is already being felt along the state's coast, with large sea swells resulting in life-threatening rip currents and surf.

SC emergency management officials said they were "preparing for the possibility of a large-scale disaster".

Dare County officials ordered everyone to leave Hatteras Island on Monday.

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Heavy rain could cause severe flooding throughout the region.

In 1989, Hurricane Hugo grew to a Category 4 storm before coming ashore near Charleston, South Carolina, where it caused about $14.1 billion in damage when adjusted for inflation, making it the 13th costliest USA storm, according to Hurricane Center records.

McMaster said folks should prepare for a lot of flooding in the Pee Dee area.

"Florence is quickly becoming a powerful hurricane", hurricane specialist Eric Blake wrote.

It said that maximum sustained winds are near 75 miles per hour with higher gusts and that additional strengthening is expected over the next day or two.

Impacts of the hurricane can also extend far from the center of the storm.

The hurricane center projects that Helene will strengthen Monday but "weakening is forecast to commence Wednesday morning".

At the moment, Florence, Hurricane Isaac, and Hurricane Helene are all swirling in different parts of the ocean at the peak of hurricane season.

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