Published: Wed, September 12, 2018
Sci-tech | By Laverne Osborne

Florence moves toward Carolinas, tropics remain active

Florence moves toward Carolinas, tropics remain active

There was little change in Florence's track during the 11 a.m. forecast from the National Hurricane Center. Tropical storms generate winds between 39 and 73 miles per hour, just below hurricane force.

"A westward motion with a slight increase in forward speed is expected through the end of the week".

The tropics remain very active, with the primary focus being major Hurricane Florence, located 360 miles south-southwest of Bermuda and 785 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina.

Forecasters say that storm was about 1,230 miles east of the Windward Islands, with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph.

Motorists streamed inland on highways converted to one-way evacuation routes Tuesday as about 1.7 million people in three states were warned to get out of the way of Hurricane Florence, a hair-raising storm taking dead aim at the Carolinas with 130 miles per hour winds and potentially ruinous rains.

The hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to November 30, when the waters of the Atlantic Ocean are warm enough to produce tropical cyclones.

"We could cover several states easily with the cloud cover alone", Graham said.

Preparations for Florence were intensifying up and down the densely populated coast. Florence could slow or stall on or near shore, scooping up massive amounts of seawater. The storm is forecast to strengthen even more.

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For many people, the challenge could be finding a safe refuge: If Florence slows to a crawl just off the coast, it could bring torrential rains to the Appalachian mountains and as far away as West Virginia, causing flash floods, mudslides and other unsafe conditions.

Red flags have already been flying on beaches, warning swimmers to stay out of the water as seas began kicking up.

An average hurricane season includes at least 12 named storms - which may be less powerful than full-fledged hurricanes - and six hurricanes, with three of those being major storms. "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.

In coastal Charleston, South Carolina, city officials offered sandbags to residents. "They're coming in and buying water and plates, and that's about all they're buying".

In Holden Beach, North Carolina, in the storm's path, longtime residents were boarding up homes and securing possessions. Ilija Cesal told the newspaper he wouldn't worry about buying extra water or other supplies for a few more days.

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

Hurricane conditions are possible within the hurricane watch area - Guadeloupe, Martinique and Dominica - by Thursday morning, with tropical storm conditions possible early Thursday in both the tropical storm watch area - Antigua, St Kitts and Nevis, and Montserrat - and the hurricane watch areas, the NHC added.

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