Hurricane Florence 2018

Hurricane Florence, now a Category 4 storm, is rapidly getting stronger and remains on a path to deliver a dangerous hit to the East Coast next week, with possible landfall and “life-threatening impact” anywhere from the Carolinas to the Mid-Atlantic, according to the latest update Monday from the National Hurricane Center.

Florence would likely be a Category 3 or 4 hurricane at landfall, forecasters said.

Coastal areas, from Charleston, South Carolina, to Norfolk, Virginia, should be on alert for a possible direct hit, and everyone inland from the Carolinas through the Mid-Atlantic states will likely face the force of Florence’s flooding rains and winds. Hurricane Florence could deliver “exceptionally heavy” rainfall inland into Carolinas and the Mid-Atlantic, forecasters said.

The storm surge, wind and rain impact at landfall could be severe, too, since Hurricane Florence is expected to become a major Category 4 storm by Tuesday—and it will likely continue gathering strength as it travels over warm waters while encountering a favorable upper-level environment.

 

“These conditions are expected to lead to significant strengthening during the next 12 to 24 hours, and Florence is forecast to be a very powerful major hurricane on its approach to the southeastern United States,” the National Hurricane Center said Monday.

The latest Florence National Hurricane Center models show the storm making landfall in North Carolina, around the South Carolina-North Carolina border as a major hurricane—possibly one of the strongest storms to ever hit the region. But the Mid-Atlantic, particularly Virginia, remains at risk for a direct hit as the track path sharpens in the coming days.

“There is an increasing 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,” the National Hurricane Center said Monday. 

 

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AMOC stands for Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. The AMOC circulates water from north to south and back in a long cycle within the Atlantic Ocean. This circulation brings warmth to various parts of the globe and also carries nutrients necessary to sustain ocean life.

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Lines of latitude, also called parallels, are imaginary lines that divide the Earth. They run east to west, but measure your distance north or south. The equator is the most well known parallel. At 0 degrees latitude, it equally divides the Earth into the Northern and Southern hemispheres. From the equator, latitude increases as you travel north or south, reaching 90 degrees at each pole.

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Lines of longitude, also called meridians, are imaginary lines that divide the Earth. They run north to south from pole to pole, but they measure the distance east or west.

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Barrier islands form as waves repeatedly deposit sediment parallel to the shoreline. As wind and waves shift according to weather patterns and local geographic features, these islands constantly move, erode, and grow. They can even disappear entirely.

They are generally separated from the mainland by tidal creeks, bays, and lagoons. Beaches and sand dune systems form on the side of the island facing the ocean; the side facing the shore often contains marshes, tidal flats, and maritime forests. These areas are important habitat for seabirds, fish and shellfish, and and nesting sea turtles.

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