'It's just a heck of a storm,' Florence hurricane hunter says


More than one million people in the United States have been asked to evacuate ahead of what could potentially be one of the most catastrophic storms to hit the country's East Coast region in decades.

"As I tweeted with Harvey last year.it is important to understand the potential one-two punch from Hurricane Florence", University of Georgia meteorologist Marshall Shepherd said.

USC Athletics sends its thoughts and prayers to those preparing for the storm and hope that you will be safe and careful during this time.

Gov. Henry McMaster has issued an evacuation order for SC as the area prepares for Hurricane Florence's possible landfall. Virginia's governor ordered a mandatory evacuation for some residents of low-lying coastal areas, while some coastal counties in North Carolina have done the same.

The UK Foreign Office (FCO) said in its travel advisory: "Hurricane Florence is forecast to bring life-threatening weather conditions to North Carolina and SC, with potential effects in coastal Georgia and Virginia".

Florence could bring a deadly coastal storm surge, and inland flooding as far north as Virginia, the NHC said.

North Carolina's Outer Banks are under mandatory evacuation orders and four states declared emergencies as the Category 4 storm barreled toward the coast.

Moving into next week, Florence is expected to move slowly westward and remnants could be pulled toward southern Canada and northern New England, but it's still early and the storm could change track or fizzle out before then. "Storm Surge and Hurricane watches could be issued for portions of these areas by Tuesday (Sept. 11) morning", said the NHC in the update.

Damaging winds could also spread well inland in those states and into Virginia, the hurricane center said. That authorizes the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency "to coordinate all disaster relief efforts", the White House said in a statement.

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As of Tuesday, Florence was driving sustained winds up to 140 miles per hour.

Hurricane Florence underwent a rapid intensification Monday morning, strengthening to category 4 intensity with maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour.

Hurricane Helene, heading north in the Atlantic, isn't expected to cause the US any issues, the NHC said.

"Florence has continued to rapidly strengthen", the NHC said. An average 6-month hurricane season produces 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes (category 3 or higher).

Carrying winds of up to 140 miles per hour (220 kph) as a Category 4 storm, Hurricane Florence is expected to approach Category 5 status on Tuesday as it slows and strengthens off North and SC. When Alexander Gerst and Ricky Arnold, astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS), attempted to photograph Hurricane Florence, the storm was so big they "could only capture her with a super wide-angle lens", according to Gerst. Justin Kibbey also recalled the distinctness of the storm's eye.

"I don't think many of us have ever been through a Category 4". Describing the storm as a "no-kidding nightmare", Gerst said that he and USA astronaut Ricky Arnold captured the images with a special, super-wide-angle lens, as the storm made its way towards the east of the US.

The United States was hit with a series of high-powered hurricanes previous year, including Hurricane Maria, which killed about 3,000 people in Puerto Rico, and Hurricane Harvey, which killed 68 and caused an estimated $1.25 billion in damage from catastrophic flooding in Houston.

National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham warned that Florence was forecast to linger over the Carolinas once it reaches shore.