To prep for Hurricane Florence, investors sell off insurers

Hurricane Florence strengthened into a Category 4 hurricane Monday afternoon

Hurricane Florence has forced the cancellation of several Top 25 games this weekend, including No. 13 Virginia Tech's home game against East Carolina, No. 14 West Virginia's trip to North Carolina State and No. 18 UCF's game at North Carolina.

Fierce winds and massive waves are expected to lash the coasts of North and SC and Virginia even before Florence makes landfall on Friday, and its rains will take a heavy toll for kilometres inland, the National Hurricane Center in Miami warned on Tuesday.

Another four million people are under a tropical storm watch. Charlotte, North Carolina could take a direct hit, according to the National Weather Service.

The Category 4 weakened slightly to 130 miles per hour in the morning but was expected to re-intensify later Tuesday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

He says the peanut crop could use some rain after a very dry August, but certainly doesn't need the amount of moisture Florence is expected to deliver.

"It's still going to be a major hurricane when it arrives along the Eastern Seaboard of the southern U.S.at the end of the week", said Ian Hubbard, a meteorologist with the Canadian Hurricane Centre in Halifax.

The hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to November 30, when the waters of the Atlantic Ocean are warm enough to produce tropical cyclones.

In addition to strong winds, Florence brings the threat of a devastating storm surge - as high as 6-12 feet in the area from Cape Fear, N.C., to Cape Lookout, N.C.

A hurricane watch is now in effect from Edisto Beach, South Carolina to the southern border of Virginia.

The exact track, overall size and forward speed of the storm will determine which locations along the coast receive the worst of Florence's damaging winds, heavy rain and storm surge flooding. There's a lot of interactions going on between the storm and the environment, and I think that's what makes it a hard problem, but an important one to study.

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Further east, forecasters are watching Hurricane Helene and Tropical Storm Isaac in the Atlantic, and a patch of showers in the western Caribbean, which has a 30 percent chance of becoming a cyclone in the next 2 days. A year ago, people would have laughed off such a forecast, but the European model was accurate in predicting 60 inches (150 centimetres) for Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area, so "you start to wonder what these models know that we don't", University of Miami hurricane expert Brian McNoldy said.

"This will have a storm surge in the 20-foot range", Myers said.

The "extremely risky major hurricane" is predicted to hit the coast late Thursday or early Friday morning, dropping as much as 30 inches of rain in some areas and wind gusts in the 140 miles per hour range, says the National Hurricane Center.

The storm was about 880 miles east of the Lesser Antilles - a region still recovering from last year's powerful Hurricane Maria.

North Carolina has the highest property and casualty insured premiums of the three states at $16 billion, followed by Virginia at $13.6 billion, and SC at $9.5 billion, according to Citi. Charles Mullen, 81, a longtime resident of Hatteras Island, North Carolina, said he had ridden out many storms and that most locals were planning to stay unless Florence took aim at Hatteras.

The hurricane center is continuing to forecast very unsafe storm surge and rip currents kicked up by the storm for the entire N.C. coast.

Sailors cast off mooring lines to the Command hospital ship USNS Comfort as the ship evacuates Naval Station Norfolk in preparation for Hurricane Florence in Norfolk, Virginia, U.S., September 11, 2018.

'We are well-prepared to support our neighbors during this event, ' Livingston said. He said electric power could be out for weeks.

A Category 4 Hurricane is a force to be reckoned with. Officials are urging residents in coastal and low-lying areas to prepare for strong winds, a deep storm surge and a very prolonged deluge of rainfall.

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