Published: Tue, September 11, 2018
Science | By Celia Watts

Hurricane Florence strengthens, spotlight on Hungary, North Korea-US meeting

Hurricane Florence strengthens, spotlight on Hungary, North Korea-US meeting

Hurricane Florence has been upgraded to a major category 4 hurricane as of noon on Monday.

Hurricane Florence is carrying winds of up to 140 miles per hour as a Category 4 storm.

Sluggish or stalled hurricanes - like Hurricane Harvey, which flooded swaths of Houston, Texas and the Gulf Coast past year - can become even more risky as they stick around, pouring rain. He told The Chronicle Sunday that once Florence hits land, destructive winds and huge rainfall flooding may take hold of the area.

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

North and South Carolina are under a state of emergency, and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has ordered the coastline to evacuate.

Inland residents should be prepared with enough supplies such as water, batteries, flashlights, and non-perishable food in the event power outages last for up to a week. The last storm to hit the Carolinas as a category 4 was Hurricane Hugo almost 30 years ago in 1989.

In coastal Charleston, South Carolina, city officials offered sandbags to residents. 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.

A Category 4 hurricane can cause catastrophic damage, the hurricane center warned: "Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls", the hurricane center said.

It was moving west at 13 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Hurricane Isaac, much farther out to sea, has become the 5th named hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic season, the hurricane center added.

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

Gov. Rick Scott released a statement on Monday urging Floridians to be prepared for the unexpected and remain on alert about Hurricane Florence. A storm with sustained winds of at least 111 miles per hour classifies as a Category 3 major hurricane, according to the NHC.

Southeastern North Carolina remains in the middle of the storm's "cone of uncertainty", with the cone extending from roughly Hilton Head, S.C., in the south to the Chesapeake Bay in the north.

"Plan for the worst, pray for the best".

"Probably worst case scenario is next weekend, maybe Saturday and Sunday, we get some remnants of it, but it's really hard to say", says Bill Simpson, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in MA", who refers to what's coming our way as at best "a minimal impact".

Hurricane season officially peaks today: September 10.

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