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Update 6 a.m., Tuesday — Hurricane Florence is now a category 4 hurricane, with 150-mile-per-hour winds. The storm’s track remains the same, with landfall expected Thursday into Friday. Evacuation orders have been issued along coastal areas. You can find updates on closings here.
You can also find tips on preparing for the storm here. Officials say now is the time to prepare.
Update 11 a.m., Monday — Hurricane Florence is now a category 3 hurricane and continues its westerly course according to the National Hurricane Center’s latest update.
“Florence is moving toward the west near 13 mph (20 km/h). A west-northwestward motion with an increase in forward speed is expected during the next couple of days. A turn toward the northwest is forecast to occur late Wednesday night. On the forecast track, the center of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas Tuesday and Wednesday, and approach the coast of South Carolina or North Carolina on Thursday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
“Satellite data indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 115 mph (185 km/h) with higher gusts. Florence is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Further strengthening is anticipated, and Florence is expected to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane through Thursday,” the NHC concluded.
WILMINGTON — All eyes are on Hurricane Florence as the storm continues to strengthen with the Cape Fear Region in its sights. The storm, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), is rapidly strengthening and an apparent eye has developed, approximately 10-nautical-miles wide.
Related: New Hanover County declares state of emergency, considers mandatory evacuation
Florence is currently a category two hurricane but is expected to become a major hurricane by the end of today. A major hurricane is a storm with sustained winds greater than 110 miles-per-hour.
While Florence is still hundreds of miles away from land, forecast models have the Cape Fear Region in the storm’s cone of uncertainty.
“A high-pressure ridge building to the north and northwest of Florence is expected to steer the hurricane west-northwestward to northwestward at a much faster forward speed over the southwest Atlantic during the next few days. After that time, a building ridge over the Ohio Valley is expected to cause a gradual reduction in the forward speed of the cyclone as it approaches the southeastern United States coastline … Users are cautioned to not focus on the exact forecast track as the average NHC errors at days 4 and 5 are about 140 and 180 n mi, respectively,” according to the NHC’s 5 a.m. update.
The NHC offered two key points with the update:
- There is an increased risk of life-threatening impacts from Florence: storm surge at the coast, freshwater flooding from a prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall event inland, and damaging hurricane-force winds. While it is too soon to determine the exact timing, location, and magnitude of these impacts, interests at the coast and inland from South Carolina into the mid-Atlantic region should closely monitor the progress of Florence, ensure they have their hurricane plan in place, and follow any advice given by local officials.
- Large swells affecting Bermuda and portions of the U.S. East Coast will continue this week. These swells will result in life-threatening surf and rip currents.