Warm weather returns to Montreal - hurricane Florence expected to strengthen

Hurricanes Florence Isaac and Helene moving through the Atlantic

Florence, a Category 4 storm with winds of 130 miles per hour (210 kph), was expected to make landfall on Friday, bringing heavy, sustained rain and potentially deadly flooding to the U.S. Southeast coast.

Businesses and homes in the storm's path were boarded up and thousands of people had moved to emergency shelters, officials said, urging anyone who remained near the coast to flee.

The region is no stranger to hurricanes and powerful ocean storms, but Florence has many concerned. The potential area of impact includes a wide swath of the eastern coastline, with the greatest impacts anticipated in SC and North Carolina.

Hurricane Florence continues to churn toward the USA mainland with potentially highly destructive winds and enough rain to thoroughly drench and possibly flood much of Eastern North Carolina.

"The bottom line is that there is high confidence that Florence will be a large and extremely unsafe hurricane, regardless of its exact intensity", the hurricane center said.

Hurricane Florence continues to grow in size and magnitude as it barrels toward the U.S. East Coast.

At 5 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Florence was 575 miles east of Cape Fear, N.C., moving west-northwest at 17 mph.

A new National Hurricane Center map predicting the likelihood of tropical storm-force winds stretches from northern Florida to eastern Kentucky and OH, and even up to the New York City area - although there's only a 5% to 10% chance of those conditions stretching that far north. Additionally, there will be damaging winds that could top 100 miles per hour, isolated tornadoes, and "devastating" storm surge.

He has also cancelled campaign events Thursday and Friday in anticipation of the storm.

The North and SC coasts are on high alert as residents brace for Hurricane Florence's brutal lashing.

Florence "will bring extreme wind damage and surge damage, " said Jeff Masters, co-founder of Weather Underground in Ann Arbor, Michigan. "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. "Make sure you have flashlights and batteries", Bowser said.

"Cotton is probably the most vulnerable crop from this storm", McIntosh says.

After Florence makes landfall, that ridge, now over Washington and NY, will move east - but be replaced by another one forming over the Great Lakes that will likely keep the storm stuck, McNoldy said. "Some neighbors started defoliating a little bit of cotton last week, but most are waiting until after the storm passes".

Federal officials begged residents to put together emergency kits and have a plan on where to go.

Life-threatening storm surges along portions of the coastlines of South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.

From the livestock industry, one environmental impact from the storm could be from the lagoons, or lined earthen pits, that hold treated manure.

However, Hubbard said Florence is not expected to have any impact on Canada, given its predicted track into the USA mainland, where it will likely weaken considerably on the weekend.

"This storm is going to knock out power days into weeks".

"All of our computer models that we really like, that we say these are the accurate ones, are all lining up and saying this thing's going to explode", Cash said.

- Hurricane conditions are expected late Thursday night into Saturday morning. "The full brunt of a major hurricane (Category 4 or so), then perhaps 30 to 40 inches of rainfall if the storm stalls".

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