Hurricane Florence continues to strengthen

Hurricane Florence continues to strengthen

The university said Sunday that it has issued a voluntary evacuation for students starting at noon Monday. However, classes are canceled and grading and attendance policies are suspended. A university statement says officials will continue monitoring the forecast and may make an evactuation mandatory if conditions later require.

Rapidly intensifying Hurricane Florence could strike a direct and unsafe blow anywhere from the Carolinas to the Mid-Atlantic region later this week.

Forecasters are warning that the threat is rising of life-threatening storm surge and freshwater inland flooding from prolonged heavy rains once Hurricane Florence nears the Southeast seaboard in coming days.

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 southeastern United States coast on Thursday.

The Miami-based center said that it was still too early to predict the hurricane's exact path but that a huge coastal area from SC to the mid-Atlantic region should prepare for a major strike late in the week. The storm is expected to become more powerful by Monday and will become a major Hurricane.

The Miami-based center said late Sunday that Isaac was about 1305 miles (2100 kilometers) east of the Windward Islands with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kmh).

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In southeast Virginia, Naval Station Norfolk told its employees they should not leave their vehicles parked at the sprawling base in coming days because of the flood threat.

The third hurricane in the Atlantic, Hurricane Florence, could pose a danger to parts of the U.S.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency Saturday, saying it was becoming increasingly likely that the state could see significant impacts.

As the situation with Hurricane Florence unfolds and confidence increases with the forecast, UNCW officials could take further action - including a mandatory campus evacuation and / or campus closure.

Gov. Henry McMaster told a news conference Sunday that people should "pretend, assume, presume that a major hurricane is going to hit right smack dab in the middle of SC and is going to go way inshore".

Only ten hurricane have made landfall on the Southeast coast since 1851, and if Florence hits North Carolina as a Category 4 it will be the strongest storm to ever come ashore that far north.

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In Charleston, South Carolina, along the coast, city officials offered sandbags to residents. Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune urged people to secure their homes but said it was too early to know if evacuations will be ordered. Florence is expected to maintain strength as it makes landfall.

Carnival Horizon which is the newest Carnival Cruise Ship has now canceled its scheduled port of call in Puerto Rico due to Florence which is now a category 1 Hurricane.

Tropical storm-force winds are winds of at least 39 miles per hour.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper also urged his state's residents to get ready, noting the storm already was generating swelling waves and unsafe currents along the coast. The state's emergency management agency said it is "preparing for the possibility of a large-scale disaster".

Helene is expected to go out to sea after passing the Cabo Verde Islands, but Isaac could be on a path to the Caribbean, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria almost a year ago. The National Hurricane Center predicts the storm will be a Category 4 by Tuesday or Wednesday, and it's possible that it could become a Category 5 at some point.

Tropical Storm Helene is also Cat. 1. Its maximum sustained winds are at 90 miles per hour (150 kmh). It was moving west at 6 miles per hour.

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