TROPICS: Florence expected to produce damaging winds in Carolinas

TROPICS: Florence expected to produce damaging winds in Carolinas

TROPICS: Florence expected to produce damaging winds in Carolinas

At around 12 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT), the National Hurricane Center (NHC) announced that Hurricane Florence had strengthened to a Category 4 storm. SC has been hit by three Category 4 storms: Hazel; Gracie, in 1959; and Hugo, in 1989.

WILMINGTON - Hurricane Florence is now a Category 4 hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center. It is moving to the west-northwest at 17 miles per hour.

Gov. Cooper is warning all North Carolinians to brace for a hard hit from Hurricane Florence and to "get ready now". Georgia, West Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Delaware, New Jersey, southern Pennsylvania, and eastern Tennessee, Kentucky, and OH could also see strong winds.

Hurricane Florence has been upgraded to a "potentially catastrophic" Category 4 storm sparking fears of 130mph winds and widespread destruction across much of the U.S. east coast.

As meteorologist Stu Ostro of The Weather Channel reports via Twitter, since 1851, only four Category 4 hurricanes have made landfall north of Florida on the East Coast. Forecasters said rapid intensification is likely to begin by tonight and Florence is expected to become a major hurricane by Monday.

The hurricane, which earlier Monday strengthened to a category 4, is expected to make landfall somewhere in SC or North Carolina later this week. It was not immediately clear how many people were being evacuated.

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North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper urged his state's residents to get ready, noting the storm was generating swelling waves and risky currents.

I believe the oil trade is to fade rallies on storms because of rapid increases in U.S. onshore production but, as always, the trick is the timing. At the time, Florence was a Category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale (which classifies hurricanes by strength on a scale of 1 to 5). The counter-clockwise rotation of hurricanes means more damage to the storm's upper right quadrant, viewing it from above, but less impact to the lower left side. Such swells can lead to unsafe surf and rip currents, the NHC warned.

Follow Mike Masco on social media for the latest updates on Hurricane Florence.

As for the other developing storms. It is a Category 2 storm with winds of 105 miles per hour. Storms in that part of the ocean usually veer away from the U.S. "Storm Surge and Hurricane watches could be issued for portions of these areas by Tuesday morning". Olivia should weaken through Tuesday but remain a strong tropical storm when it reaches the Hawaiian Islands.

"If the track were to shift more westward, that would put Charlotte at more risk for both wind and flooding", he said, possibly including heavy rain in the headwaters of the Catawba River, which flows toward Charlotte.

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