Hurricane Florence strengthens to Category 2 storm

Hurricane Florence strengthens to Category 2 storm

A tropical storm becomes a hurricane when maximum sustained winds reach 74 miles per hour.

I say "active" hurricanes because there are more storms out there that could mature into a hurricane.

At the moment, Florence, Hurricane Isaac, and Hurricane Helene are all swirling in different parts of the ocean at the peak of hurricane season. To the west, a tropical disturbance has developed over the northwest Caribbean Sea.

While a statement from Ralph Northam, Virginia Governor, added that it could be the "most significant hurricane event in decades" before warning of "catastrophic inland flood, high winds and power outages".

The hurricane center said the storm is expected to strengthen and speed up as it approaches the Carolina coast in the coming days. "Further strengthening is anticipated, and Florence is expected to be an extremely risky major hurricane through Thursday", the agency warned.

"NOAA Hurricane Hunter plane investigating Florence found that its winds had increased to 130 miles per hour late Monday morning", said The Weather Channel.

Today, Florence was centred about 1,985 kilometres east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, and moving west at 20 km/h.

In 1989, Hurricane Hugo grew to a Category 4 storm before coming ashore near Charleston, South Carolina, where it caused about $14.1 billion in damage when adjusted for inflation, making it the 13th costliest USA storm, according to Hurricane Center records.

Since reliable record-keeping began more than 150 years ago, North Carolina has only been hit by one Category 4 hurricane: Hazel, with 130 miles per hour winds in 1954. But the large storm's tropical storm-force winds could start to reach the coast of the Carolinas as early as Wednesday night, the National Hurricane Center said.

Florida governor Rick Scott, whose state experiences the most hurricane-force storms in the USA, pledged resources, expertise and guidance to the three states in which emergencies have been declared.

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The wild horses that make their homes on the coast of the Tar Heel state are staying put, and they might be better prepared to outlast a storm than anyone.

The US navy has ordered ships at its major base in Hampton Roads, Virginia, base to put to sea, saying "the forecasted destructive winds and tidal surge are too great to keep the ships in port".

The storm had grown from a Cat 2 to 3 storm earlier on Monday, and was identified as a Cat 4 shortly after noon.

By the end of October, increasing upper-level winds lowers hurricane potential along with the chilling effect of cooler water.

Residents as far north as Virginia were warned that Florence could bring a life-threatening coastal storm surge, as well as inland flooding from "prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall", the NHC said.

The clouds within the red square are the outer bands of Hurricane Helene. Of the two other storms, which remain far from land, Isaac poses the most immediate risk.

"Anything we might do in the hopes of "protecting" them would probably end up being more unsafe and stressful for them than the storm", the CWHF said.

The latest forecast from the National Hurricane Centre said the storm winds have reached 75mph (120kph), which means it is now at hurricane strength.

Many newcomers have moved to the coast in the almost 19 years since the last strong hurricane - Floyd - threatened the area.

In Guam, Typhoon Mangkhut - a Category 4 storm - narrowly missed dealing a direct blow to the island.

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