Hurricane Florence Intensifies As It Barrels Toward US East Coast

Olivia most likely arrival time of tropical storm force winds. PC  NOAA  CPHC

Olivia most likely arrival time of tropical storm force winds. PC NOAA CPHC

Isaac is smaller and weaker than Florence.The NHC expects it to be downgraded to a tropical storm by Friday and Saturday as it moves near or south of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

For many people, the challenge could be finding a safe refuge. Shelves in some grocery stores in Raleigh, North Carolina, were already bare, and residents were filling up their petrol tanks.

More than a million people living along the coastlines of SC and Virginia have been ordered to evacuate their homes on Tuesday, as parts of America's mid-Atlantic coast brace for what could be the most powerful storm to ever hit the region. So far, mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for residents and visitors in some coastal areas of the state, while other counties only issued them for those in low lying and "flood prone" areas.

As of 11 p.m. ET Monday, Florence had maximum sustained winds of 140 miles per hour, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

"We're in for a real episode here", McMaster said at a press conference. NASA is using its various high-flying tools to monitor the storm, taking precipitations measurements and NOAA's National Hurricane Center is using that data to forecast the storm's progress.

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North Carolina governor Roy Cooper asked President Donald Trump for an early Disaster Declaration on Monday to prepare for anticipated damage in the state.

The hurricane center's 11 p.m. forecast did show that Florence's projected path had wobbled slightly northward, but the Cape Fear area remained firmly in the storm's "cone of uncertainty".

Sustained winds have reached nearly 105 miles per hour.

Florence is the third hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, after Hurricane Chris (Category 1) and Hurricane Beryl (Category 2), which formed in early July but didn't make landfall. "Damaging hurricane-force winds are likely along portions of the coasts of SC and North Carolina, and a Hurricane Watch will likely be issued by Tuesday morning".

In Charleston, South Carolina, the Coburg Dairy Cow landmark was removed for safekeeping from its perch atop a sign on Highway 17 on Monday, according to CNN affiliate WCIV. In Maryland, where some coastal areas are still recovering from weather, Gov. Larry Hogan said flooding could be catastrophic if it hits the state.

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

If the strength continue to rise, Florence will be one of just three storms in the records to have winds of 150 miles-per-hour this far north, said Phil Klotzbach, a Colorado State University hurricane researcher. "Action today can avoid losses due to Florence".

Isaac is expected to reach landfall in the Caribbean later this week.

"I'm telling them to go inland, but I'm anxious about the rain and tornadoes too", Roberts said.

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