Here is the NHC’s latest predictions for Florence’s path.
Hurricane Florence, currently a Category 4 storm, is bearing down on the US eastern seaboard forcing authorities to issue mandatory evacuation orders amid fears of “life-threatening” floods and storm surges up to 12ft high.
Trackers fear Florence’s 140mph winds may strengthen further to Category 5 on Tuesday, as the Carolinas and Virginia brace for predicted landfall between Thursday and Friday. Some 1 million people have been told to evacuate from South Carolina’s entire coastline.
The storm is the strongest of several weather systems the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) is monitoring as hurricane season reaches its peak.
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The National Hurricane Centre has just issued a fresh advisory notice for Hurricane Florence.
The storm surges – a rise in sea level prompted by atmospheric pressure changes – caused by Florence in the next 48 hours are expected to be “life-threatening”, the NHC said.
In places the rises could be up to 12ft (4m) high “if peak surge occurs at the time of high tide”.
Hurricane Florence is a “beast” of a storm, according to an American scientific pilot who has flown through it a number of times on monitoring missions.
Florence is “on par with” the destructive hurricanes Irma and Maria that caused widespread damage last year, and getting “stronger and stronger by the minute”, said Justin Kibbey of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
He added in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper: “Our first flight Saturday, Florence was just under hurricane strength, and then Sunday it was just over hurricane strength, and today [Monday] it was a Category 4 storm.
“It’s what they call rapid intensification, so the storm has really got its act together and is just a heck of a storm out there.”
Nasa has released a stunning satellite image of the three hurricanes currently swirling over the Atlantic.
Florence, Isaac and Helene can be seen clearly in the image acquired by the agency’s Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite aboard the Suomi satellite.
The photo shows Florida in the top left, with Cuba largely obscured by cloud and the northern part of Latin America including Brazil visible in the lower left. Spain and the Sahara desert can be seen on the right.
The National Hurricane Centre (NHS) has warned Florence will drop “staggering” amounts of rain.
NHC director Ken Graham warned the deluge may extend hundreds of miles inland and cause flash flooding across the mid-Atlantic region.
Forecasts expect 10 to 15 inches (25 to 38 cm) of rain in the hardest-hit areas, possibly more if the storm stalls over land, as expected, Mr Graham said.
Supplies are flying off grocery shop shelves as South Carolina prepares for the arrival of Hurricane Florence, local media reports.
Water in particular was in short supply, WCSC reported, while queues for petrol stretched “out to the streets”, a witness said.
Charleston resident Josh Foster told the site. “It’s preventing people from driving and continuing about their day.”
Via the Associated Press news agency, a few details about what may be at stake when Florence strikes:
The storm’s potential path includes half a dozen nuclear power plants, pits holding coal-ash and other industrial waste, and numerous hog farms that store animal waste in massive open-air lagoons.
The US National Hurricane Centre has said “life-threatening freshwater flooding” is likely once Florence makes landfall, due to an “exceptionally heavy rainfall event”.
The centre said it expected to issue a storm surge warning for the Carolinas and Virginia by Tuesday morning as a “life-threatening” surge was also likely along parts of the coastlines of those states.
Our live coverage of Hurricane Florence returns this morning.
Millions of people are preparing for what could be the most devastating storm to hit the US eastern seaboard in decades.
Mandatory evacuations have been ordered in parts of South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.
It is currently a Category 4 storm with winds of 140mph, though observers fear it could strengthen to Category 5 on Tuesday.
Here is another look at President Donald Trump’s message ahead of Hurricane Florence’s landfall later this week. The president has not issued a declaration of emergency area, although several governors have done so.
Those declarations open up funding to be used for disaster response, and to facilitate quicker responses.
Hurricane Florence has reached wind speeds to classify it as a category 4 hurricane, and it has been predicted that the storm will possibly strengthen into a category 5 storm by the time it hits the US.
Here is an illustration of the impact of various strengths of winds could have on a home.
Here are the states that have so far declared states of emergency in anticipation of Hurricane Florence:
Other states, like West Virginia, are watching the storm closely, and making preparations in some instances to ensure residents remain as safe as possible.
The sheer size of Hurricane Florence has a completely inland state preparing for the worst.
In West Virginia — an inland, mountainous state with no coastal borders — Governor Jim Justice has ordered the state’s Department of Homeland Security and National Guard to be prepared for potential disaster circumstances.
Florence has sustained winds of over 140 mph and before it dies the storm may stall over the Carolinas, leading to “exceptionally heavy” and sustained rains, experts said.
The storm’s first effects were already apparent on barrier islands as dangerous rip currents hit beaches and seawater flowed over a state highway.
States of emergency have been declared in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland.
“The Storms in the Atlantic are very dangerous,” Donald Trump tweeted Monday. “We encourage anyone in the path of these storms to prepare themselves and to heed the warnings of State and Local officials. The Federal Government is closely monitoring and ready to assist. We are with you!”
State governors said they would open shelters for displaced residents.
Behind Florence in the Atlantic are at least two other storm systems, Hurricane Isaac and Hurricane Helene. In the Pacific, the state of Hawaii is expecting to be hit by its second hurricane of the season if Hurricane Olivia makes its way to the islands as predicted. Isaac has weakened in recent hours, the NHC said.
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