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article imageTuesday update on dangerous Category 4 Hurricane Florence

By Karen Graham     Sep 11, 2018 in Environment
Millions of Americans throughout North and South Carolina and Virginia are in the bulls-eye as they prepare for Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 storm that's expected to bring massive amounts of rainfall, flash flooding, and horrific winds.
Tropical-storm-force winds are due to reach the coasts of North and South Carolina on Thursday morning, and hurricane-force winds may be felt around Thursday night, ahead of a predicted Friday landfall.
As of 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, the Category storm was located about 370 miles (570 kilometers) south-southwest of the Bahamas and 845 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina. Florence is moving toward the west-northwest near 17 mph (28 kph). Maximum sustained winds are 130 mph (215 kph).
A west-northwestward to northwestward motion with a slight increase in forward speed are expected during the next couple of days. On the forecast track, the center of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas through Wednesday and approach the coast of North Carolina or South Carolina in the hurricane watch area Thursday and Friday.
Florence is expected to begin re-strengthening later today and continue a slow strengthening trend for the next day or so. While some weakening is expected on Thursday, Florence is expected to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane through landfall.
Hurricane-force winds have expanded outward and now extend up to 60 miles (95 kilometers) from the center. Tropical-storm-force winds have also expanded and now extend outward up to 170 miles (280 kilometers) from the center.
Storm surge and rainfall
For many folks, this storm will be a once-in-a-generation event in the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic states — but it could also result in mudslides, due to the region’s topography, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Hurricane Center warned, according to Fox News.
This is one of the impacts you have to be worried about,” Joel Cline, a meteorologist and tropical storm coordinator with the NOAA, told Fox News. Parts of North Carolina have experienced a lot of rainfall in recent days, softening the ground and loosening the soil. Combined with the looming storm, the potential for mudslides is greater.
Additionally, life-threatening storm surges of up to 12 feet are expected along the coasts and generally up to 30 inches of rain will be seen through early next week over parts of the Carolinas and mid-Atlantic states.
The storm's center may move very slowly inland - meaning rain for days in some places. "This thing is going to stop, and it's going to rain - and it's going to rain. ... We could see 3 feet," CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said Tuesday afternoon.
Don't forget the pets
Pet owners need to "paws" and think about their pets, says Fox News. “The best way to protect your family from the effects of a disaster is to have a disaster plan,” the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) says online. “If you are a pet owner or have larger animals (i.e. livestock) it is important that you also consider their needs when developing your disaster plan.”
“Ask friends, relatives, or others outside the affected area whether they could shelter your animals,” the Federal Department of Emergency Management (FDEM) says. “If you have more than one pet, they may be more comfortable if kept together, but be prepared to house them separately.”
Make sure you have food, water, bowls, leashes, carriers, cat litter, medicine and medical records - and keep all this together as part of your emergency plan. If you’re evacuating with your pets, dogs should be leashed and carriers should be used for cats, FDEM advised.
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