SC declares emergency ahead of Tropical Storm Florence

SC declares emergency ahead of Tropical Storm Florence

SC declares emergency ahead of Tropical Storm Florence

Florence, the sixth tropical storm in the Atlantic basin this year, intensified into a hurricane on Sunday and will rapidly gain force as it churns over the open ocean toward the US East Coast, with landfall likely in the Carolinas later this week, forecasters said.

Drawing energy from the warm water, it could be a fearsome Category 4 with winds of 209 km/h or more by Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center said.

State lawmakers were saying the governor would order an evacuation beginning Tuesday.

The center of Florence was located about 685 miles (1,100 kilometers) southeast of Bermuda, the NHC in its 0300 GMT Monday advisory. While the exact track of Florence remains uncertain, the threat of a North Carolina landfall sometime Thursday into Friday continues to increase.

On North Carolina's Outer Banks, Dawn Farrow Taylor, 50, was gathering photos and important documents and filling prescriptions Monday before heading inland. The barrier islands are expected to see severe impacts from the hurricane.

In coastal Charleston, South Carolina, city officials offered sandbags to residents.

The tropics have come alive over the weekend with three hurricanes in the Atlantic and an area in the western Caribbean that warrants watching for the state of Texas through this week.

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. "Be prepared. Be ready", said Gov. Henry McMaster.

Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 15 miles. While it is too soon to determine the exact timing, location, and magnitude of these impacts, interests at the coast and inland from SC into the mid-Atlantic region should closely monitor the progress of Florence, ensure they have their hurricane plan in place, and follow any advice given by local officials.

Be sure to read the special Cape Cod Times series about how to prepare for hurricanes.

"This storm gets stronger and stronger" and is on its way to a head-on impact on the Carolinas, CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said. But current models show it striking the East Coast anywhere between Florida and Washington D.C.

Swells generated by Florence could cause unsafe rip currents and coastal flooding today in some areas including coastal DE and New Jersey, according to the National Weather Service.

The storm's sustained winds reached 75 mph (121 kph), just over the threshold for a hurricane, on Sunday morning as it was moving across the Atlantic, about 750 miles (1,210 kilometres) southeast of Bermuda.

While the hurricane center says Isaac is a very small hurricane, its intensity could fluctuate as it approaches the Caribbean - but it's still expected to be at or near hurricane strength by the time it reaches the Lesser Antilles.

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