Category 4 Florence Getting Bigger, Stronger

Chris Sommer
September 10, 2018 - 5:28 pm
Hurricane Florence

Staff photo by Megan Raymond

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The National Hurricane Center is warning that Florence could be on a catastrophic collision course with the Carolinas.

As of 4 p.m. CDT Monday, Florence's top sustained winds had grown to 140 miles per hour.  Forecasters say hurricane-force winds now extend outward up to 40 miles from the center, and tropical storm-force winds stretch to 150 miles out.  Hurricane Florence is moving to the west-northwest at 13 miles per hour.

The latest forecast cone would have Florence approaching coastal North Carolina and/or South Carolina as a Category Four hurricane by Thursday evening.  The governor of South Carolina has called a mandatory evacuation for all coastal areas in his state by noon EDT Tuesday. 

NBC 5 Senior Meteorologist David Finfrock said Florence is already a storm for the history books.  He said, "Typically, the Bermuda high will start to circulate that around, and it'll, as it gets farther to the north, take a curve to the north out into the open waters of the Atlantic.  Somebody did an analysis, and said of all the storms that had ever been within a hundred miles of where Florence was over the weekend, not one of them had ever made it to the U.S. east coast."

Destructive winds may not be the only thing those in the path of the hurricane have to worry about.  Finfrock said Florence likely will stall after making landfall later this week, "If you remember, that's what Harvey did after it moved onshore.  The difference is, in Texas, we have those low, coastal plains.  In North Carolina, you get up into the Piedmont and the mountains of the Appalachians, that's only going to increase the rainfall and funnel it down the river valleys.  I think we could see some catastrophic flooding in North Carolina."

The National Hurricane Center says hurricane watches could be issued for parts of the U.S. mainland as early as Tuesday morning.