How dangerous is Hurricane Florence?

Huge storm nears Category 5 strength as it bears down on US coast

Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall in the US on Thursday
A satellite image released by Nasa showing Hurricane Florence from space
(Image credit: NASA via Getty Images)

Millions of people are facing mandatory evacuation orders after Hurricane Florence was upgraded to a Category 4 storm and remained on track to strike the east coast of the US.

“Not only has the storm exploded in intensity, but its zone of hurricane-force winds approximately doubled in size Monday,” the Washington Post reports.

Where will Hurricane Florence arrive?

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Residents along the coast of South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland are preparing for the storm’s arrival, which is predicted for Thursday. All of those states have declared a state of emergency.

“This is a real hurricane we have coming,” South Carolina governor Henry McMaster said Monday. “We don't want to risk one South Carolina life.”

How dangerous could it be?

The National Hurricane Centre (NHC) warned that the storm was forecast to stall over the Carolinas once it reaches shore, lashing the surrounding area with winds up to 240 kilometres per hour, and dumping up to 600mm of rain.

“None of the guidance suggest that Florence has peaked in intensity, and this is supported by a continuation of a low-shear environment, and even warmer waters over he next 36 hours,” the NHC said.

“The storm’s potential path also includes half a dozen nuclear power plants, pits holding coal-ash and other industrial waste, and numerous eastern hog farms that store animal waste in massive open-air lagoons,” CBS News says.

Two other hurricanes are following in the wake of Florence. Hurricane Isaac and Hurricane Helene are also tracking across the Atlantic Ocean, however they are not expected to make landfall in the US.

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