Can you return to Hilton Head, Beaufort Co. after Hurricane Florence evacuation?

Katie Ramirez
September 11, 2018

As of 5 a.m. local time today (Sept. 10), Hurricane Florence was churning about 625 miles (1,000 kilometers) southeast of Bermuda, with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph (165 km/h), making it a Category 2 storm, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Hurricane Florence is gearing up to pound the eastern US coastline as it racks up maximum winds of 220 km/h, making it an "extremely dangerous" storm system which strength is only expected to grow.

According to the noon-time update from the NHC, operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Florence now has sustained winds of almost 130 miles per hour and has no become what the agency considers "a major hurricane".

Hurricane Florence, at center, is a Category 4 storm heading for the Carolinas.

"Florence is expected to be an extremely unsafe major hurricane through Thursday", the NHC said in a bulletin.

At this height of the Atlantic hurricane season, Florence was being trailed on east-to-west paths by two other hurricanes, Helene and Isaac. Packing heavy winds with a maximum sustained wind speed of 130 miles per hour (195 km/h), the hurricane is slowly barreling toward the U.S. East Coast, at a speed of approximately 13 miles per hour (20 km/h).

Storms generally form over the equator, where the water temperature is especially high, then move north and west, pushed along by currents in the tropical Atlantic. Airlines, including Delta and American, said travelers can change their flights without penalties for travel to and from the region for trips September 13-16.

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"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.

Florence stands a significant chance of joining 2017's Harvey and Irma as just the third storm to make landfall on the USA mainland at category 4 strength (or higher) since 2005. "But on rare occasions, the steering patterns can line up such that a storm slips into a dead zone between troughs and ridges".

North and South Carolina are under a state of emergency, and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has ordered the coastline to evacuate. Earlier Monday, coastal communities in North Carolina ordered evacuations, and SC ordered evacuations for its entire coastline.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 10 miles from the center and tropical-storm force winds extend outward up to 45 miles, the NHC said. "Your safety is just as important to us as the safety of the recruits and the new Marines". Residents who do not know their zones can visit SCEMD's "Know Your Zone" website where they can enter their address and be given their precise zones and view detailed maps of the zones.

Hurricane Florence could make a mess of air travel and cruises in the USA later this week. Hurricanes Helene and Isaac are not expected to hit the U.S. mainland.

McMaster declared a state of emergency on Saturday, a day after North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) made a similar declaration for his state.

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