Hurricane Florence takes aim at East coast

Hurricane Florence is expected to strengthen as it moves through the Atlantic Ocean and is on track to likely hit the East Coast of the US this week.

Posted: Sep 11, 2018 1:44 PM
Updated: Sep 11, 2018 1:57 PM

Hurricane Florence has its sights set on North and South Carolina, and if it hits as hard as predicted, the storm will be the most powerful to pound the area in three decades, CNN weather anchor Chad Myers said Monday morning.

"This storm gets stronger and stronger" and is on its way to a head-on impact on the Carolinas later this week, Myers said.

Water up to 15 feet high will strike the coast, and rainfall inland over the next four to five days could reach 20 inches in some locations, he said.

Florence was about 625 miles southeast of Bermuda as of 5 a.m. ET on Monday. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 105 mph and was moving west-northwest at about 9 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.

The center of the hurricane was forecast to move between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday and approach the southeastern coast of the US on Thursday as a Category 3 storm or higher, according to the hurricane center.

"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 hurricane center said Monday.

"There is an increasing risk of life-threatening impacts from Florence: storm surge at the coast, freshwater flooding from a prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall event inland, and damaging hurricane-force winds," the hurricane center said. It warned people at the coast and inland from South Carolina into the mid-Atlantic region to closely monitor the storm's progress and ensure they had their hurricane plan in place.

Large swells generated by Florence are already affecting Bermuda and portions of the East Coast and will continue this week.

"These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip currents," the hurricane center said.

East Coast track

CNN senior meteorologist Dave Hennen said Sunday that computer models agree Florence is on track to make landfall in the Carolinas.

It would be the first Category 3 or higher storm to hit the East Coast since Hurricane Jeanne struck Florida in 2004.

Track the storm and compare different forecast models

Most computer models predict Florence will slow down as it moves inland, Hennen said, which could add to the heavy rains and potential flooding.

Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina already are on alert. Their governors declared states of emergency Friday and Saturday.

"We are preparing for the worst, and of course hoping for the best," South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said, adding that his declaration would allow state agencies to deploy assets quickly to the coast.

McMaster said Sunday that he has asked President Trump for a federal disaster declaration. That would make state and local agencies eligible for FEMA reimbursement of some costs.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper waived certain transportation restrictions so that farmers could harvest and move crops more quickly.

Cooper also urged people to learn what evacuation routes to take, and put fuel in their vehicles in case they're ordered to leave.

"Action today can avoid losses due to Florence," he said.

Lines forming at grocery stores

Crowds of shoppers formed at supermarkets on Sunday, as people tried to stock up on supplies before the storm.

"Checkout lines @Costco in Charleston running all the way to the back of the store. Hurricane #florence for the win! #chswx," tweeted Michael Livingston. "Wait was about 20 min - long but fast-moving. Prep is usual: foodstocks, fuel, cash, batteries, clean-up of property for high winds. Might buy a new board game or two. :)"

Erin Byrd checked in online from Publix in Apex, North Carolina.

"Water supplies being depleted ... Bread and milk supplies still robust," she posted on Instagram.

"We don't panic, which is why we are amused that water was so depleted a week out. We still have water supply from last year here," she told CNN.

Alicia Buchanan posted on Instagram from Walmart in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

She just moved to the area two weeks ago from Northern Virginia and still doesn't have her furniture.

"So, I'm prepping with some bottled water, a couple puzzle books, and making sure all my electronics and back-up batteries are charged," she told CNN. "I plan to do most of my cooking on the grill."

Ships out to sea

The US Navy said Saturday that it may be necessary to send ships in the Norfolk, Virginia, area out to sea because of the coming storm. The Navy put them on Sortie Condition Bravo -- which means the onset of destructive weather is expected within 48 hours.

In a news release, the Navy said the ships can handle destructive weather better while at sea and that "having the ships underway also makes them ready and available to respond to any national tasking, including any needed disaster response efforts in the local area after the storm has passed."

Peak season

Preparations for Hurricane Florence come as the Atlantic hurricane season hits its peak. Two other storms also are churning in the Atlantic.

Hurricane Helene and Hurricane Isaac are not expected to hit the US mainland.

Monday is the climatological peak date of hurricane season, the height of the eight-week period when the most powerful storms usually form, CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri said.

Fast Facts: 2018 Atlantic hurricane season

The Atlantic hurricane season officially began June 1, but cooler water and higher wind shear -- winds moving at different speeds and directions -- early in the season are less than ideal for tropical systems to gain and maintain strength.

Storms increase in frequency and intensity by mid-August and into September as temperatures in the Atlantic climb to their highest levels, Javaheri said.

"Take mid-August to mid-October, that period accounts for 87% of category 1 and 2 hurricane days and a staggering 96% of 'major' hurricane days -- (Categories 3, 4 and 5)," he said. "By late October, wind shear once again increases and the cooler autumn air filters farther south, allowing waters to begin their inevitable cooling process."

CNN meteorologist Gene Norman compared the conditions to boiling water on a stove, with the water taking a while to react to an increase and then decrease in the temperature of the element beneath it.

"Even though the season starts in June, the Earth is just beginning to warm up from the summer sun. By mid/late August, temperatures near their peak, like that pot on the stove starting to boil," he said.

"However, just as it takes a while to heat the ocean, it also takes a while for the latent heat stored there to dissipate, like that pot on the stove. This is why there can be strong storms lingering into October."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 296745

Reported Deaths: 6783
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19774231
Hinds18916394
Harrison16850282
Rankin12823265
Jackson12700230
Lee9711162
Madison9499204
Jones8017148
Forrest7272138
Lauderdale6856227
Lowndes6051140
Lamar592081
Lafayette5761114
Washington5229130
Bolivar4626124
Oktibbeha442694
Panola433198
Pearl River4205132
Warren4143115
Pontotoc411071
Marshall405192
Monroe3994128
Union396674
Neshoba3836170
Lincoln3590104
Hancock351978
Leflore3394120
Sunflower319786
Tate303574
Pike301996
Scott295771
Alcorn292563
Yazoo291466
Itawamba290575
Coahoma282769
Tippah280065
Copiah279759
Simpson277180
Prentiss271258
Wayne254841
Leake253572
Marion252878
Covington249980
Grenada248778
Adams235378
George232445
Newton232252
Winston222179
Jasper213945
Tishomingo213065
Attala206871
Chickasaw201753
Holmes182770
Clay179351
Stone173129
Tallahatchie171739
Clarke170273
Calhoun158628
Smith153633
Yalobusha145636
Greene128133
Walthall124840
Noxubee123331
Montgomery123140
Perry122735
Lawrence120821
Carroll119325
Amite112435
Webster111132
Jefferson Davis102731
Tunica99624
Claiborne99029
Benton94024
Humphreys93128
Kemper90823
Quitman77414
Franklin76420
Choctaw69917
Jefferson62827
Wilkinson62527
Sharkey49217
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 498887

Reported Deaths: 10122
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson719121402
Mobile36328740
Madison32639469
Tuscaloosa24372421
Montgomery22765520
Shelby22231218
Baldwin19890289
Lee15057158
Calhoun13901294
Morgan13770255
Etowah13407325
Marshall11452213
Houston10130264
Elmore9499190
Limestone9429138
St. Clair9041227
Cullman8991183
Lauderdale8618214
DeKalb8507175
Talladega7628165
Walker6593259
Jackson6551104
Autauga633392
Blount6246128
Colbert6004121
Coffee5268104
Dale4676107
Russell407333
Franklin400078
Covington3998106
Chilton3902103
Escambia379273
Tallapoosa3631143
Clarke344553
Chambers3432111
Dallas3422142
Pike293273
Marion288595
Lawrence285386
Winston258568
Bibb245758
Marengo243057
Geneva240570
Pickens225557
Barbour213951
Hale212269
Fayette202257
Butler201766
Henry183641
Cherokee178140
Monroe166739
Randolph165140
Washington156836
Macon147745
Crenshaw146555
Clay146054
Cleburne139941
Lamar133933
Lowndes132851
Wilcox122825
Bullock117436
Conecuh107024
Perry106227
Sumter100432
Coosa90224
Greene88732
Choctaw55423
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