ATLANTA - Hurricane Florence is on track to become a major hurricane by Monday night before it reaches the U.S.
Severe Weather Team 2 meteorologist Katie Walls said Florence now has winds at 90 mph.
The hurricane hunters are flying in the storm now and it’s likely they will find it stronger. Either way, the satellite presentation has improved dramatically overnight as it moves away from strong wind shear -- Florence is on its way to rapid intensification.
Walls said right now it's too early to know exactly where the storm will make landfall, but people from the Carolinas to the mid-Atlantic are warned to prepare.
We're tracking Florence LIVE on Channel 2 Action News This Morning.
Walls took your questions about Florence and its potential impacts on Facebook:
[DOWNLOAD: Free Severe Weather Team 2 App]
As the storm slows down and potentially stalls over the weekend, 2 feet or more of rain could fall over parts of the Mid Atlantic, according to Severe Weather Team 2.
The storm is expected to impact the southeast anywhere between Georgia and Virginia.
[INTERACTIVE: Storm Tracker 2 HD Radar]
The governors of Virginia, South Carolina and North Carolina declared states of emergency as the storm is expected to continue intensifying Sunday.
[EXPLAINER: How does a hurricane form? ]
Severe Weather Team 2 meteorologist Katie Walls said that residents along the Georgia coast need to be prepared but that most of the impacts at this point look like they will skip Georgia.
Local agencies are also echoing Walls' advice. The Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner issued a statement on Sunday.
"Being prepared can save lives, property and a lot of misery," said Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens. "With Florence quickly approaching, I'm urging all Georgia residents to take action to protect themselves, their homes and their businesses."
He also suggests following these storm preparation tips:
- For personal safety, identify what storm shelter is available to you and prepare an evacuation plan.
- Make a plan for your pets. Not all emergency shelters will take pets.
- Contact your insurance agent immediately if you have had damage to either your house or car; do not delay. Your agent should provide you with claims forms and arrange for an insurance adjuster to visit your property or look at your automobile.
- A typical homeowner’s policy does not cover damage from floodwaters. A separate policy must be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program. Coverage usually goes into effect 30 days after the policy is purchased.
- Unlike a typical homeowner’s policy, a mobile home policy usually includes flood coverage and does not have to be purchased separately.
- Secure your property. For example, if your roof was damaged or blown off, or a tree has pierced the roof, cover the affected area with a tarp or plywood to protect your property from further damage. Keep receipts of materials used for repairs; your insurance company should reimburse you for repair costs.
As the storm slows down and potentially stalls over the weekend next weekend, 2 feet or more of rain could fall over parts of the mid-Atlantic.
For us, we have scattered showers and storms the next couple of days as a front stalls across the area. Expect highs in the mid to upper 80s. The rain chances will drop later in the week as we likely end up on the dry side of Florence. There will be coastal impacts in Georgia either way, though, as large waves, rip currents, and beach erosion will impact much of the East Coast from Florence.
The National Weather Service officially upgraded Florence from a tropical storm to a Category 1 Hurricane in the 11 a.m. advisory update.
Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologist Brian Monahan answered questions from Channel 2 Action News viewers on the impact Florence will have on the East Coast:
Monahan said Florence will bring large waves, rip currents and beach erosion to the East Coast starting early in the week.
TRACKING FLORENCE: Here's the updated forecast cone for #Florence, just issued (5am) by the National Hurricane Center. The message remains the same -- a dangerous major hurricane will be near the southeast coast during the second half of the week. @wsbtv pic.twitter.com/nTcnfkr13p— Brian Monahan, WSB (@BMonahanWSB) September 9, 2018
SATURDAY SEPT. 8
I'm not expecting Florence to head here, but it got me thinking so I looked it up. There's never been a hurricane (records back to 1851) within 60 mi. of Atlanta, there've been 33 Tropical Storms or Tropical Depressions however. Hurricane winds weaken rapidly as it moves inland. pic.twitter.com/xrtBVKGIJ0— Brad Nitz (@BradNitzWSB) September 9, 2018
Virginia Gov. Ralph Norham has declared a state of emergency and is urging residents to begin preparing.
We have THREE named systems in the Atlantic right now, two of which pose a threat to land #Isaac and #Florence. Now is the time to download our FREE Weather App. Open the "Tropics" Tab to get the newest forecast tracks. Our next cones arrive at 11pm. pic.twitter.com/JLkcgyXF0g— Katie Walls (@KatieWallsWSB) September 8, 2018
5pm: Rapid intensification of #Florence is forecast to begin Sunday. While the GA coastline has been removed from the cone (for now), NOW is the time to prepare. Things can shift. SC and NC need to be on HIGH ALERT. You can always get the latest cone on our free WSB Weather App. pic.twitter.com/AyMNYfx7CS— Katie Walls (@KatieWallsWSB) September 8, 2018
5PM: NOAA Hurricane Hunters have found #Florence is a bit stronger and strengthening. The cone is shifting slightly farther northward taking the GA coastline out (for now.) That said, residents along the GA coast, and ESPECIALLY IN SC AND NC need to be READY! pic.twitter.com/AXjguJ2wP0— Katie Walls (@KatieWallsWSB) September 8, 2018
#Florence is becoming better organized and forecast to restrengthen to a hurricane tonight. It is projected (scroll down to prior post) to become a MAJOR hurricane (Cat. 3+) prior to landfall somewhere from N FL to the Carolinas. Have a plan in place along the coast! pic.twitter.com/irhmKBYwbH— Katie Walls (@KatieWallsWSB) September 8, 2018
A lot can still change between now and late week -- but new models pointing a major #Florence threat squarely at the southeast coast right now.— Brian Monahan, WSB (@BMonahanWSB) September 8, 2018
The message is still for folks from GA all the way up to the Northeast to monitor this storm very closely.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency Saturday afternoon to give his state time to prepare for the possible arrival of a hurricane. McMaster emphasized that there's no way to know yet when and where the storm will hit land, or when evacuations might be called.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a State of Emergency on Friday evening, urging residents to use the weekend to prepare for the possibility of a natural disaster.
WATCH Channel 2 Action News for the latest track on the storm from Severe Weather Team 2.
Severe Weather Team 2 is also closely monitoring Tropical Storm Isaac and Tropical Storm Helene.
Isaac is forecast to possibly impact the lesser Antilles later next week. Helene is poised to affect the Cabo Verde Islands this weekend..
"Since we are near the peak of hurricane season -- Sept. 10 -- this is a good time for everyone who lives in a hurricane-prone area to ensure they have their hurricane plan in place," Walls said.
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