Here are the 5 AM EDT Key Messages for Hurricane #Florence.
That's a reference to the infamous storm that came ashore just north of Charleston, S.C.in late September 1989 as a category three system - killing almost three dozen SC residents and doing an estimated $10 billion worth of damage. NASA is using its various high-flying tools to monitor the storm, taking precipitations measurements and NOAA's National Hurricane Center is using that data to forecast the storm's progress.
The National Hurricane Center downgraded Isaac to a tropical storm overnight but said Tuesday that it could be "at or near hurricane levels" on Thursday, when it approaches the Lesser Antilles Islands.
The hurricane center's 11 p.m. forecast did show that Florence's projected path had wobbled slightly northward, but the Cape Fear area remained firmly in the storm's "cone of uncertainty". The storm is forecast to strengthen even more. The rapidly growing hurricane-currently circling Bermuda-is expected to make contact with the East Coast early Thursday morning, predicted Wes Hohenstein, chief meteorologist at CBS 17. It was moving west at 13 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center. Now tracking in the Atlantic Ocean southeast of the US mainland, "A turn toward the northwest is forecast to occur late Wednesday night", the latest NHC dispatch stated.
The National Hurricane Center expects Florence to pass between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then approach the USA states of North Carolina and SC by late Thursday into Friday. Tropical storm watches and warnings have been issued for the islands.
Impacts from high wind, storm surge and inland river flooding could be "extreme", according to the weather service, especially considering the storm could stall over North Carolina, spinning bands of rain that could total 20 inches in some locations.
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Virginia Governor Ralph Northam's office described Florence as possibly the state's "most significant hurricane event in decades", and warned of "catastrophic inland flooding, high winds and possible widespread power outages". Landfall may be Thurs. Some forecasting models show it could unload a foot or two of rain in places, causing devastating inland flooding.
A Category 4 hurricane with 130 miles per hour winds is bearing down on the US East Coast, bringing a risk of devastating floods.
There are also four other named storms and the potential for a fifth to develop.
"Everyone in North Carolina needs to keep a close eye on Florence and take steps now to get ready for impacts later this week", Cooper said.
"We here in North Carolina are bracing for a hard hit", governor Roy Cooper said during a press conference on Monday.
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. "This is a unsafe storm and will impact a large region".