Hurricane Florence slightly increases in speed

Tropics erupt as Florence, Helene and Isaac all churn in the Atlantic

By noon Monday, Florence was centered about 1,230 miles (1,985 kilometers) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, and moving west at 13 mph (20 kph).

"Further strengthening is anticipated, and Florence is expected to be an extremely risky major hurricane through Thursday", the National Hurricane Center said.

SC coastal areas can expect tropical storm force winds by Thursday morning on the storm's latest track, according to John Quagliariello from the National Weather Service in Columbia.

The storm has rapidly intensified and reached "major hurricane" classification on Monday morning (with maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour, making it a Category 4), although eyes are also on Isaac and Helene for the future.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said he had asked President Donald Trump for a federal disaster declaration ahead of the storm.

Storm Surge and hurricane watches are likely be issued for the Carolina coast - including Southeastern N.C. - on Tuesday.

"Moderate to rough seas will gradually rise to very rough in the south and east with building southeasterly swells from Hurricane Florence".

"There is an increasing risk of life-threatening impacts from Florence: storm surge at the coast, freshwater flooding from a prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall inland and damaging hurricane-force winds", a 5 a.m. advisory said.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam's office described Florence as possibly the state's "most significant hurricane event in decades", and warned of "catastrophic inland flooding, high winds and possible widespread power outages".

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On Parris Island, South Carolina, recruits were ordered evacuated from the Marine Corps' biggest training installation on the East Coast. Most of the state of Hawaii was under either a tropical storm warning or watch on Monday morning, as Hurricane Olivia bears westward, with 85 miles per hour winds.

Florence is moving toward the west-northwest near 9 miles per hour.

At the time of writing, Hurricanes Florence, Helene and Isaac are all active in the Atlantic Ocean.

NASA astronaut and current International Space Station resident Ricky Arnold was able to capture the sheer breadth of Hurricane Florence, while showcasing Isaac and an outer band of Helene in new photos posted on Twitter Monday. Tuesday morning's data from hurricane-hunting aircraft supports this forecast, the center said.

On top of Irma and Maria, powerful category 4 hurricane Harvey inflicted $125billion worth of damage, mostly from catastrophic flooding in Houston, Texas, between August and September previous year.

Hurricanes have a life cycle, moving from tropical storm to full-on hurricane.

Storms that track through the Caribbean at this time of year have the potential to be steered north toward the United States.

"I don't think many of us have ever been through a Category 4".

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