Surge, wind, rain, floods: Hurricane Florence could hit hard

More than 1.5 million people were ordered to evacuate their homes along the U.S. Atlantic coast as Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 storm and the most powerful to menace the Carolinas in almost three decades, barreled in on Tuesday. According to CNN, odds are good that it will have strengthened to Category 4 status-meaning sustained winds in the range of 130-156 miles per hour-before the time it makes landfall later this week, likely on Thursday or Friday.

On Saturday, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the storm.

In the case of these recent flights, the hurricane hunters helped confirm that "Florence is expected to be an extremely risky major storm through Thursday night", according to the National Hurricane Center.

Mandatory evacuation orders are in effect Tuesday in three USA states as forecasters and officials urge people to get ready for devastating winds and heavy rains from Hurricane Florence.

According to USA Today, the National Hurricane Centre has said Florence is set to hit the US East Coast later this week, possibly as early as Wednesday.

"Florence is expected to be an extremely risky major hurricane through Thursday night", the centre said Tuesday. Again, weakening doesn't mean it's not a big storm, this just means that we may go lower in category as the storm approaches the coastline.

Jay Barnes, who has written several books on hurricanes, including "North Carolina's Hurricane History", said Florence has a lot of similarities to Hurricanes Hazel, Fran and Floyd.

North Carolina State postponed its home game against West Virginia University in Raleigh, North Carolina, adding that tickets will remain valid if the schools are able to reschedule the contest for later in the season.

Hurricane to tropical-storm-force winds could extend inland depending on the storm's exact track.

It could weaken on Thursday, according to current predictions, but officials cautioned Florence will most probably remain "an extremely risky major hurricane through landfall".

At the same time Florence is expected to make its landfall, another storm, Isaac, is forecast to be at or near hurricane strength as it moves across the Lesser Antilles and into the eastern Caribbean Sea.

"But central Mass. over towards the Berkshires could get some rain", Simpson said. Because of the amount of rain expected, "historic" flooding could occur from Thursday through Sunday.

A warm ocean is the fuel that powers hurricanes, and Florence will be moving over waters where temperatures are peaking near 30 degrees Celsius, hurricane specialist Eric Blake wrote.

North Carolina governor Roy Cooper described the storm as "a monster".

The storm is expected to threaten the Carolinas and Virginia.

Florence could hit the Carolinas harder than any hurricane since Hazel packed 130 miles per hour (209 kph) winds in 1954.

Hotel availability is limited along some of the key evacuation routes in SC, the Greenville News reported Monday.

  • Joey Payne