Evacuations in North Carolina as hurricane Florence roars closer

Tropical Depression Six becomes Tropical Storm Florence

WSVN 7 News forecaster, Vivian Gonzalez, said on Saturday: "In the tropics, we are tracking tropical storm Florence, likely to strengthen to a major storm, maybe a Category 4 system, heading into the middle part of next week".

In its 5 a.m. EDT advisory, the National Hurricane Center said "a rapid phase of intensification" is expected to begin by Sunday night as Florence officially becomes a hurricane.

Governors in both SC and Virginia declared a state of emergency Saturday to give their states time to prepare for the possible arrival of the storm. 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.

On its current track, the storm could make landfall around the Carolinas on Thursday or Friday.

Hurricane Florence seen over the Atlantic Ocean, about 750 miles southeast of Bermuda in this handout photo provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on September 9, 2018.

Florence is expected to travel between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday before approaching the southeastern US coast on Thursday.

As of early Monday, Isaac was about 1,230 miles east 1,305 miles (1,985 km) east of the Windward Islands with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kph), the NHC said.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the system had been churning in the Atlantic Ocean at 35 miles per hour, just under the 39 miles per hour threshold that would turn it into a tropical storm.

Tropical Depression Six becomes Tropical Storm Florence
Astronaut captures photos of ominous-looking Hurricane Florence from space

Met Service said neither of the storms are a threat to Jamaica.

A mandatory evacuation was ordered for residents of Hatteras Island and some other areas of Dare County in North Carolina. Monday is the climatological peak date of hurricane season, the height of the eight-week period when the most powerful storms usually form, CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri said. "We are mobilizing the state's resources to make sure we are prepared, and the people of SC must not hesitate to prepare for the possibility of a hurricane impacting our coast".

Two other storms were spinning in the Atlantic.

Officials in North Carolina were already bracing for impact.

In southeast Virginia, Naval Station Norfolk told not to leave their vehicles at the sprawling base later this week because of the flood threat.

The National Hurricane Center warned a hurricane hunter plane found the storm strengthening quickly.

Hurricane Florence has the potential to bring catastrophic flooding to areas of the eastern United States already soaked by heavy rain and may be the strongest storm to hit the region in decades.

The U.S. Navy added that it was sending almost 30 ships from Virginia to sea in order to avoid damage.

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