Intensifying Hurricane Florence could strike US southeast
Hurricane Florence is rapidly intensifying and could strike a direct and dangerous blow anywhere from the Carolinas to the Mid-Atlantic region later this week, possibly as a fearsome category 4, forecasters said.
The first impacts were already being seen Monday on a barrier island, as seawater flowed over a coastal road.
A hurricane hunter plane found Florence strengthening quickly, reaching top winds of 85 miles per hour Sunday evening after crossing the 74 miles per hour threshold from tropical storm to a hurricane earlier in the day.
Forecasters said Florence could become an extremely dangerous major hurricane sometime Monday and remain that way for days.
As of 5 a.m., Florence was centred about 625 miles southeast of Bermuda, moving west at 9 miles per hour.
Its maximum sustained winds were at 105 miles per hour.
Drawing energy from the warm water, it could have top sustained winds of 130 miles per hour or more by Tuesday, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said.
Hurricane Isaac, much farther out to sea, has become the 5th named hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic season, the hurricane center added.
It’s too early to know the exact path of Florence, but forecasters said it could blow ashore by Thursday in the Carolinas and southern Virginia, a stretch of the U.S. East Coast that experts have identified as the most vulnerable to rising sea levels due to climate change.