TROPICS: Florence expected to produce damaging winds in Carolinas

Hurricane Florence causing 85-mph winds, will become major hurricane Monday

With sustained winds howling at almost 220km per hour, Florence was upgraded to a Category 4 by the National Hurricane Center yesterday, as the tempest churned about 965 kilometres southeast of Bermuda and headed toward the East Coast.

The Miami-based center said in its 5 a.m. ET advisory that Florence was about 625 miles southeast of Bermuda, moving west northwest at 9 mph.

A hurricane hunter plane found Florence strengthening quickly, reaching top winds of 85 miles per hour (140 kph) Sunday evening after crossing the 74 miles per hour threshold from tropical storm to a hurricane earlier in the day.

Forecasters said early Monday afternoon that data indicated Florence has maximum sustained winds near 130 miles per hour and a minimum central pressure of 946 millibars (27.93 inches).

With the state of emergency declared and Hurricane Florence, a category 4 hurricane, headed toward the east coast, the University of SC is going to have some decisions to make, especially with a home football game against Marshall on Saturday night.

Hurricane response crews from the U.S. Geological Survey are installing storm-tide sensors at key locations along the North and SC coasts in advance of Hurricane Florence.

At the moment, Florence, Hurricane Isaac, and Hurricane Helene are all swirling in different parts of the ocean at the peak of hurricane season.

The sensors being installed to measure Hurricane Florence's storm tide are housed in vented steel pipes a few inches wide and about a foot long.

"Zone A is the lowest line and most flood prone area of the Hampton Roads and Eastern Shore", said Northam.

"A big question on this track is how intense the storm remains over the Research Triangle area of North Carolina - Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill", Watson said. The northernmost landfall was made by Hazel, a devastating and deadly storm that struck close to the South Carolina/North Carolina border in October of 1954.

SC ordered an estimated one million people to evacuate its coast today as the state and neighbouring North Carolina brace for Hurricane Florence.

Cotton, corn and soybean fields, along with massive hog and poultry facilities lie in Florence's forecast path.Smithfield Foods Inc., the No. 1 hog producer, and chicken producer Sanderson Farms Inc. saw North Carolina operations disrupted in 2016 in flooding from Hurricane Matthew. Mandatory evacuations have begun along North Carolina's coast. Only Florence has qualified as a major hurricane. "We just happen to be right in the middle".

The NHC issued a warning Monday morning, explaining when powerful gusts may approach. The state's emergency management division has posted additional information on the evacuations and how to prepare.

The USGS studies the impacts of hurricanes and tropical storms to better understand potential impacts on coastal areas.

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