‘Extremely dangerous’ Hurricane Florence is now packing winds of 220 km/h

‘Extremely dangerous’ Hurricane Florence is now packing winds of 220 km/h

‘Extremely dangerous’ Hurricane Florence is now packing winds of 220 km/h

Packing winds of up to 220 km/h (140 mph) late Monday, Florence was expected to further strengthen and become "an extremely unsafe major hurricane" by the time in makes landfall in the Carolinas on Thursday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in a 21:00 UTC update.

Hurricane Florence, bearing down on the Carolina coast and expected to make landfall late Thursday or early Friday - its winds and high surf will arrive as much as a day earlier - is predicted to carry fearsome Cat 4 and borderline Cat 5 winds.

"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".

Anywhere from 2 to 6 feet of storm surge may occur in other areas - as far south as Charleston, South Carolina and as far north as the Virginia coast.

South Carolina's governor ordered the state's entire coastline to be evacuated starting at noon on Tuesday. Some coastal Virginia and North Carolina residents are under evacuation orders as well.

Watches in effect Tuesday forecast a storm surge of up to 12 feet at high tide from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout in North Carolina. Isaac became a tropical storm again approaching the Caribbean, while Hurricane Helene was veering northward, no threat to land. "It's an extremely unsafe, life-threatening, historic hurricane. the forecast shows Florence stalling over North Carolina, bringing days and days of rain".

He added: "Also, most storms coming into the Carolinas tend to move northward, and this storm looks like it's going to stall over the region and potentially bring tremendous life-threatening flooding".

The District Department of Transportation said crews will be on standby to handle any tree issues that may arise and ahead of the storm are staging equipment at key roadways that have been prone to high water. The current forecast for both the impact and aftermath of the hurricane would require those officials to divert critical resources from what could be much more significant duties.

AccuWeather Vice President of Forecasting and Graphics Operations Marshall Moss said: "There's never been a storm like Florence".

The governor stressed Hurricane Florence is still "dangerous and unpredictable", with a force that could rival Hugo in size and strength.

Wrap up your preparations today and make plans to get to your safe place by Wednesday night or first thing Thursday morning in advance of Hurricane Florence.

Many newcomers have moved to the coast in the almost 19 years since the last strong hurricane - Floyd - threatened the area.

Officials warn there is a chance of "life-threatening inundation from rising water" over the next 48 hours as Florence heads for the US East Coast.

Many areas, particularly focused along the North Carolina coastline, could see frequent gusts well over 100 miles per hour with sustained winds near 100 miles per hour as Florence slowly moves ashore.

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