‘Monster’ Hurricane Predicted to Hit Southeast Coast as Devastating Category 4 (Video)

The Southeast Coast is on alert for a potentially deadly strike from Hurricane Florence as forecasters predict it will strengthen to a Category 4 hurricane before making landfall on the Southeast or Mid-Atlantic coast later in the week.

The National Hurricane Center classified tropical storm Florence as a Category 1 hurricane, Sunday, warning that it would rapidly intensify into a major hurricane by Monday and could make the Thursday landfall as a Category 4 “extremely dangerous major hurricane.”

“There is an increasing risk of two life-threatening impacts from Florence: Storm surge at the coast and freshwater flooding from a prolonged heavy rainfall event inland,” the National Hurricane Center wrote Sunday. Storm surge is the rise in ocean water above normally dry land at the coast, which can inundate homes, roads and businesses, The Washington Post reported.

South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia have declared a state of emergency to position money and resources for the storm.

The Washington Post reports:

As of 5 p.m., Florence was crawling west-northwest across the North Atlantic Ocean at just 7 mph. Its peak winds were 85 mph, making it a Category 1 hurricane. Over the coming days, its forward motion is expected to increase as it turns to the west-northwest, and its intensity is expected to rapidly increase. But then the storm is forecast to slow as it approaches a likely landfall.

The Hurricane Center predicts it will reach Category 4 intensity by Tuesday, with maximum winds of 150 mph prior to landfall. Residents along the Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina coasts should continue preparations for a major hurricane landfall and have a plan should they be required to evacuate.

Tropical-storm-force winds could reach the coastline as early as Wednesday night, at which point all outdoor preparations should be completed. Extremely dangerous hurricane-force winds could batter coastal locations Thursday into Friday. Hurricane to tropical-storm-force winds could extend inland depending on the storm’s exact track.

Where the storm makes landfall has implications on where the strongest winds and biggest rise in water at the coast occurs, but strong winds and extreme rainfall could occur at great distances from the landfall location. Keeping this in mind, here is the likelihood of landfall at different locations based on our evaluation of model data:

  • 60 percent in the Carolinas.
  • 15 percent between Virginia and Southern New England.
  • 15 percent offshore.
  • 10 percent between North Florida and Georgia.

Simulations from American (blue) and European (red) computer models from Saturday night are rendered above. The thick bold red line is the average of all the European model simulations, while the blue is the average of all the American model simulations. (StormVistaWxModels.com)

There is an “increasing risk of life threatening hazards” from storm surge and heavy rainfall but noted it was too early to determine the exact location, timing and magnitude of these impacts. Those on the coast and inland from South Carolina into the mid-Atlantic region should be on alert and have a hurricane plan in place, according to the agency.

Governors in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina have all declared states of emergency over the past two days in anticipation of the storm.

Hurricane Florence on Sunday had winds moving at 75 mph, and was 750 miles southeast of Bermuda, moving west at 6 mph.

Meteorologist Eric Holthaus warned on Twitter that it could become one of the worst storms in US history.

If a major hurricane (Category 3 or higher) does make landfall along the Southeast coast, the rarity of such an event is relevant. Since 1851, only 10 major hurricanes have done so, and the most recent was Fran in 1996, 22 years ago. Hugo in 1989 was the one before that and was a Category 4 at landfall. No hurricane has made landfall as a Category 5 in this region on record.


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