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Hurricane strengthens to Category 4, on track to barrel into Carolinas

11 September 2018

"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 SC or North Carolina on Thursday", said the NHC. Forecasters said Florence was expected to become an extremely unsafe major hurricane sometime Monday and remain that way for days.

"Although Isaac is forecast to begin weakening when it approaches the Lesser Antilles, as it is still expected to be at or near hurricane intensity when it reaches the islands".

Hurricane season is in full swing after forecasters predicted that 2018's stint could be as devastating as 2017 when all is said and done.

The NHC said the vast storm had maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour, reaching up to 125 miles from its centre, as it tracked west-northwestward across the western Atlantic.

Large swells generated by Olivia will also likely increase throughout the week and may become damaging on some exposed east-facing shores Tuesday or Wednesday. It is now entering a warmer zone that could lead it to gather strength, meteorologists said. The current forecast track suggests the hurricane will most likely approach North Carolina or SC on Thursday as it gathers speed.

Preparations for Florence come as the Atlantic hurricane season hits its peak.

The US government has been criticized for its response to Maria in Puerto Rico, a US commonwealth in the Caribbean.

North Carolina's governor urged people to learn what evacuation routes to take and put fuel in their vehicles in case they're ordered to leave.

The storm is forecast to continue towards the United States, and approach the southeastern coast by Thursday.

"A big question on this track is how intense the storm remains over the Research Triangle area of North Carolina - Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill", Watson said.

The NHC also was tracking two other hurricanes farther out in the Atlantic: Category 1 Isaac and Category 2 Helene.

Isaac is located about 1,150 miles east of the Windward Islands and has maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, the NHC said in its latest update Monday. "I plan to do most of my cooking on the grill".

Mike Sprayberry, director of the state Division of Emergency Management, said the storm could have statewide impacts, from storm surge and high winds along the coast to flooding inland.

This morning, NOAA tweeted a video from the GOES-East weather satellite, also known as GOES-16, showing the storm's eye churning through the Atlantic.

Hurricane strengthens to Category 4, on track to barrel into Carolinas