'Big and vicious': Hurricane Florence closes in on Carolinas

Wednesday, 12 Sep, 2018

SOUTHEASTERN N.C. - The National Hurricane Center announced at 5 p.m. Monday it could begin issuing hurricane and storm surge watches as soon as Tuesday morning.

Outer rain bands from Florence may reach central North Carolina late Thursday or Thursday night, but this region will see the worst of the weather conditions starting Friday morning and continuing all day Friday. Virginia, North Carolina, and SC have all declared states of emergency.

North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland governors have declared states of emergency. "On the forecast track, the center of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas Tuesday and Wednesday, and approach the coast of SC or North Carolina on Thursday".

The National Hurricane Center's 5:00 a.m. advisory placed Hurricane Isaac's center at near latitude 14.7 North and longitude 42.7 West. Isaac is moving toward the west near 13 miles per hour (20 km/h).

"North Carolina is taking Hurricane Florence seriously, and you should, too", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said at a press conference. Federal Government stands by, ready to assist 24/7.

Hurricane watches extend from Edisto Beach, South Carolina, northward to the North Carolina-Virginia border, including the Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds. That Category 4 storm destroyed 15,000 buildings and killed 19 people in North Carolina. This general motion will then continue for the next couple of days.

AccuWeather meteorologist Brett Rossi said the ground in North and SC and Virginia is already saturated from recent rains.

Helene - now just southeast of the Cabo Verde islands off the African coast - had winds of 85 miles per hour, and was expected to turn northwest and then north into the open Atlantic by midweek, the NHC said.

The National Hurricane Centre has warned of "life-threatening" storm surges along the south-eastern seaboard and freshwater flooding due to a "prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall event". "Don't wait", said Greg Postel, a hurricane expert at the Weather Channel.

The governor warned residents that Florence was gaining strength and that the winds would likely be higher than other recent hurricanes.

"We could cover several states easily with the cloud cover alone", Graham said.

Helene is moving toward the west-northwest near 12 miles per hour.

WILMINGTON - Hurricane Florence is now a Category 4 hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center.

By noon EDT on Monday, Florence had top sustained winds of 130 miles per hour.

A Category 4 hurricane with 105 miles per hour winds is bearing down on the US East Coast, bringing a risk of devastating floods - and there are two more hurricanes behind it. "The threat will be inland, so I'm afraid, based on my experience at FEMA, that the public is probably not as prepared as everybody would like", said Craig Fugate, former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.