Florence blows winds of 220 km/hour on Monday to the east coast of the United States, where at least one million people received evacuation orders.
At 2100 GMT, the category 4 hurricane out of 5 was blowing with maximum sustained winds of 220 km/hour with stronger gusts, and was about 1,880 km / h southeast of North Carolina, according to a bulletin from the National Hurricane Center (NHC, in English).
Forecasters estimate that it will make landfall between Thursday and Friday at the border of North Carolina and South Carolina, although the trajectory is not yet clear.
“Further strengthening is expected and it is expected that Florence will be a very dangerous high-intensity hurricane throughout Thursday,” the NHC said in a statement.
The states of North and South Carolina, as well as Virginia, further north, declared an emergency to expedite the contingency plans.
“I am ordering mandatory, non-voluntary, mandatory evacuation,” said South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster.
“Nearly a million people will be leaving the coast,” he added, detailing the plans to reverse the direction of traffic on some highways to facilitate the exodus inland.
“This is a real hurricane,” said the governor. “The evacuations are inconvenient, but we do not want to risk a single life.”
In Charleston, an old port city of South Carolina, residents were preparing to fill sandbags and buy supplies before the mass exodus began.
John Johnson, in charge of a hardware store in the center, told AFP that the race to get batteries, flashlights, plastic covers and sandbags began last Friday and has not stopped.
“We have not stopped,” he said.
Also Monday, several counties in North Carolina issued mandatory evacuation orders for coastal areas, such as the Topsail Beach Islands.
“Here in North Carolina we are preparing for a strong coup,” state governor Roy Cooper told a news conference on Monday.
He added that North Carolina is taking Hurricane Florence “very seriously” and asked citizens to do so too.
At the moment, the eye of the hurricane is expected to enter the continent at the height of the small port city of Wilmington, in southern North Carolina.
Meteorologists warn that the hurricane could then remain stagnant on the mainland before dissipating, as Harvey did in Texas last year, which would increase the risk of flooding.
The US Navy ordered all of its ships to leave the Hampton Roads area before the hurricane.
President Donald Trump tweeted a message of support to residents who are on the path of the hurricane.
“To the incredible citizens of North Carolina, South Carolina and the entire east coast – this storm seems very bad!” The president wrote. “Take the necessary precautions.”
Another two hurricanes
Meanwhile, two other hurricanes are blowing in the Atlantic, at a time when the cyclone season, which ends on November 30, reaches its peak in September.
Isaac blows with Category 1 strength and with maximum sustained winds of 120 Km/hour east of the Lesser Antilles.
His trajectory shows him crossing Thursday the same Caribbean islands that were devastated last year by the hurricanes Irma and Maria, and that are hardly able to withstand another disaster so soon.
However, forecasts estimate that this relatively small hurricane will begin to weaken by the middle of the week as it approaches the islands, the NHC said.
Further east, near the islands of Cape Verde off the coast of Africa, Hurricane Helene was blowing with winds of 165 km/hour, but heading towards the north of the Atlantic without representing a danger to any coast.
In September of last year, the monstrous hurricanes Irma and Maria destroyed, in particular, the islands of Martinique, Dominica, Puerto Rico, Barbuda and the US Virgin Islands.
According to a study released late last month, the disaster Maria left in Puerto Rico, which spent weeks without communications or electricity and with cut roads, caused almost 3,000 deaths.
Source: Tribuna Noticias MX