US East Coast braces for 'direct hit' from Hurricane Florence

Amtrak is canceling service south of Washington ahead of Hurricane Florence

Amtrak is canceling service south of Washington ahead of Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall somewhere between North Carolina, South Carolina, and the Mid-Atlantic states on Thursday evening or Friday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Florence is now a Category 4 storm, packing 130 mile-per-hour winds, according to an 11 a.m. update from the U.S. Hurricane Center, and it may soon re-strengthen to near Category 5 levels.

In anticipation of the storm, governors of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland have declared states of emergency.

A warm ocean is the fuel that powers hurricanes, and Florence will be moving over waters where temperatures are peaking near 30C, hurricane specialist Eric Blake wrote.

Nasa said the storm, now brewing above the Atlantic Ocean, had weakened to Category 1 strength, but is expected to strengthen into a Category 3 hurricane by the time it makes landfall on the United States mainland.

The massive storm is threatening the East Coast of the USA with an expected landfall late Thursday. Hurricane force winds start at 74 miles per hour.

"It's going to be inconvenient, but we do not want to risk one South Carolina life in this hurricane", said South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster.

"Florence is expected to slow down and stall after landfall this will lead to catastrophic flooding in parts of North Carolina & Virginia", Panovich said.

A NY task force, made up of NYPD and FDNY members, is sending 82 people and six canines to North Carolina to help. High winds will bring down trees and power lines, so residents are urged to be prepared to go without electricity for several days.

Hurricane to tropical-storm-force winds could extend inland depending on the storm's exact track.

Several meteorologists said Florence could do what Hurricane Harvey did a year ago over Texas, dumping days of rain, although not quite as bad.

He has also canceled campaign events Thursday and Friday in anticipation of the storm. The storm is now about 950 miles from the Carolina coast line, but moving in that direction at about 15 mph. That means, she said, that the Wilmington region is going to be affected by what she said is going to be a major hurricane that could reach category 4 strength, which means maximum sustained winds of 130 to 156 miles per hour. Upon immediate landfall, the threats are you standard hurricane threats - storm surge, strong winds, tornadoes. Watches were in effect Tuesday for a storm surge that could reach up to 12 feet at high tide on a stretch from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout in North Carolina, forecasters said.

A special NY task force is heading south to help with Hurricane Florence. "The term mandatory evacuation rings hollow because there's no good way to actually enforce it but if you call it something else people are not going to follow". Hurricane Isaac was expected to lose strength as it reaches the Caribbean, and Helene, much farther out to sea, may veer northward into the open ocean as the 2018 hurricane season reaches its peak.

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