Meteorologist Eric Holthaus had a three-letter reaction to the news that Hurricane Florence is now a category 4 storm with 115mph winds and higher gusts. "Wow," he tweeted. Most other reports are using the word "catastrophic," in keeping with how the National Hurricane Center describes a Category 4 hurricane: "catastrophic damage will occur." The storm is currently expected to careen into the Carolina coast on Thursday or early Friday, and USA Today reports North Carolina is already in preparation mode: Gov. Roy Cooper has requested a federal declaration disaster, and Cape Hatteras Island is under a mandatory evacuation order for Monday; Duck and Corolla face the same order for Tuesday.
- That's not all from Holthaus: "As much as 48 inches of rain could fall," he tweeted. "For perspective, that's almost *double* the previous all-time record for an East Coast hurricane. Unfathomable." He also asked meteorologist Philip Klotzbach (who specializes in "Atlantic basin seasonal hurricane forecasts") about the storm's rapid intensification and got this answer: "It has intensified by 40 mph in the past 13 hours. The last Atlantic hurricane to intensify as rapidly as far north as Florence's current location is Hurricane Humberto (2007)."