The latest report from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) indicates that Hurricane Florence is on the verge of becoming a monster storm, which strengthened rapidly overnight as it continued to gain strength over the Atlantic, 625 miles southeast of Bermuda.
Florence had maximum sustained winds of 105 mph and was moving west-northwest at nine mph, making it a Category 2 hurricane, the NHC said. An increase in maximum sustained wind speed is expected over the next several days, as government officials from the Carolinas to the Mid-Atlantic on Monday were preparing for a direct hit later this week.
“Rapid strengthening is forecast, and Florence is forecast to become a major hurricane this morning and is expected to remain an extremely dangerous major hurricane through Thursday,” the NHC said.
Over the weekend, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency in anticipation of a direct hit. The declaration allows the state to use the National Guard for preparations and to aid in search and recovery operations in the aftermath. North Carolina and Virginia have taken similar measures.
Hurricane #Florence update
• Increasing risk of life-threatening impacts: storm surge at coast, flooding inland
• Dangerous winds could down trees & cause power outages
• Landfall may be Thurs. If slows after landfall may cause heavier rain & winds.
Stay tuned for #ncwx pic.twitter.com/YIN6OLA1KC
— NC Emergency Managem (@NCEmergency) September 10, 2018
Chuck Watson, a disaster researcher at Enki Research in Savannah, Georgia, told Bloomberg that the northern coast of South Carolina and the Outer Banks of North Carolina are likely to be the areas most impacted by the storm, which could cause $15.32 billion in damage if it stays on its current trajectory.
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