Tracking the tropics: Three hurricanes brewing in the Atlantic

Carlton Robbins
September 12, 2018

The hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to November 30, when the waters of the Atlantic Ocean are warm enough to produce tropical cyclones. A turn toward the northwest is forecast to occur late Wednesday night. Let's break it down one-by-one.

Sustained winds on Tuesday afternoon approached 105 miles per hour, making it a very strong Category 2 storm, though it was expected to gradually weaken over cooler waters.

Sustained winds have reached nearly 105 miles per hour.

The estimate is based on the National Hurricane Center's forecast for Florence's path and wind speeds.

At 8 pm, the storm was centered 725 miles (1,165 km) southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, moving at 17 mph (28 kph). "Up in the clouds, water condenses and forms droplets, releasing even more heat to power the storm". This would bring major impacts where it makes landfall which looks like somewhere along the coast of the Carolinas.

Over in the Pacific, this storm is still moving toward Hawaii, where tropical storm warnings and watches have been issued, the hurricane center said.

A storm surge watch is in effect for. Inland areas will have to deal with freshwater flooding.

On North Carolina's Outer Banks, Dawn Farrow Taylor, 50, was gathering photos and important documents and filling prescriptions Monday before heading inland.

Some areas could exceed 30 inches of rain from the storm.

For many people, the challenge could be finding a safe refuge: If Florence slows to a crawl, it could bring torrential rains all the way into the Appalachian mountains and as far away as West Virginia, causing flash floods, mudslides and other unsafe conditions in places that have already experienced lots of rain recently.

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Historically, 90 percent of fatalities from hurricanes, tropical storms and tropical depressions have been caused by water, NHC spokesman Dennis Feltgen said.

She says the company is bringing in up to 2,000 workers from Florida and the Midwest to augment its 4,600 workers in North Carolina and SC. However, a different effect is possible. However, this would also mean that temperatures will be able to warm to the mid 90s in the afternoon.

The parking lot has been full for three days at the Ace Hardware store in coastal Calabash, North Carolina, where manager Tom Roberts said he sold 150 gas cans in two hours Monday, along with generators, plywood, rope, manual can openers, sand bags and a plethora of other items.

In their forecast discussion, the BWS said, "Moderate east-southeasterly winds Tuesday morning will gradually increase moderate to strong in the evening as Hurricane Florence - by then expected to be a category 4 storm, passes it's closest point of approach 300nm to our south". It will continue on a west movement and may weaken more.

"Interests in the Lesser Antilles should monitor the progress of Isaac", the NHC advised on September 10.

Hurricane Helene is maintaining Category 2 status in the eastern Atlantic as it pulls away from the southernmost Cabo Verde Islands.

Hurricane Isaac was showing little change in strength as it moved toward the Windward Islands in the Lesser Antilles, while Hurricane Florence was expected to move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas by Wednesday. Wind shear will also play a part in weakening the storm.

The United States was hit with a series of high-powered hurricanes a year ago, including Hurricane Maria, which killed about 3,000 people in Puerto Rico, and Hurricane Harvey, which killed 68 and caused an estimated $1.25 billion in damage from catastrophic flooding in Houston. However, forecast models take it over towards Texas or Louisiana after that.

An area of showers and storms moving into the Gulf of Mexico will have a high chance of development (70%) by Thursday. Eastbound lanes of Interstate 26 heading into Charleston and USA 501 heading into Myrtle Beach will be reversed when the order takes effect.

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