Hurricane Florence Upgraded to Category Three, then Category Four

Hurricane Florence, which is now tracking to make landfall primarily in the Carolinas, has been upgraded not once, but twice. What was once a Category 2 hurricane bound for Myrtle Beach is now a Category 4 hurricane aimed at the entire South Caroline coast.

Hurricane Florence

florence
Weather Channel

Evacuations and Safety Measures

On Monday South Carolina governor Henry McMaster ordered a mandatory evacuation of the entire South Carolinian coast. That alone should signify the danger posed by the hurricane: the evacuation order will likely affect over a million people. To compensate for the large amount of traffic soon to be on its way out of the coastal regions, the eastbound lane of I-26 out of Charleston will be reversed to allow more people to evacuate safely. The same is true of Route 501, which leads out of Myrtle Beach.

The storm’s radius is so wide now that similar measures are being undertaken in North Carolina and Virginia. All across the East Coast, states and coastal areas are preparing for the intensely powerful storm.

Strongest Storm to Hit SC in Decades

Florence is on track to hit SC as the strongest storm it’s seen in thirty years. Generally speaking, South Carolina is somewhat insulated from hurricanes by its geography. That is to say, it’s far enough north that hurricanes typically don’t hit it at full strength. Florence, however, has been empowered by the warm waters of the late-summer Atlantic and looks incredibly destructive.

After being upgraded to a Category 4 on Monday, it’s clear just how powerful this storm is. Category 4 means sustained windspeeds of at least 130 MPH, with gusts ranging much higher than that. Category 4 hurricanes are known to be incredibly destructive, often causing damage to even sturdy structures. For South Carolina, this is doubly true, as many buildings along the Coast were not made with hurricanes in mind.

Further Complications

Even after the storm makes landfall and the windspeeds slow, inland regions will likely be subject to flooding and power outages. The storm will likely peter out as it rampages over land, but not before causing massive damage to the Low Country and Upstate regions. The amount of flooding and power outages could be further complicated by the relocation of so many from the coastal region into more inland parts of the state.