Hurricane Florence, a strengthening Category 4 hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean, is projected to make landfall somewhere along the U.S. east coast later in the week. The storm could become “one of the strongest strikes on this part of the East Coast on record,” according to a report from The Weather Channel.
By noon on Monday, the storm had maximum sustained winds of 130 mph and was moving west at 13 mph, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
In response to the impending storm, companies like Home Depot, Lowes, and Wal-Mart all boasted gains early Monday morning as people in Florence’s projected path scramble to buy building supplies and emergency rations. Generac Power Systems, a generator manufacturer headquartered in Wisconsin, saw a 5.7 percent gain on Monday as well, and roofing company Beacon jumped 7.3 percent, according to a report from CNBC.
While the impending storm boosted some industries, the insurance sector fell across the board, with Allstate and Travelers each dropping about 2 percent. Progressive saw about a one and a half percent drop as did Chubb LTD, a “high-end real estate insurer.”
Insurance companies aren’t the only businesses that are threatened by severe tropical weather. According to a report from Market Watch, “branded apparel and footwear” firms see the most substantial adverse effect from hurricanes. However, after major storms the stock market generally sees some losses “due to store closures, consumers’ inability to access stores, and incremental costs associated with repair and clean-up,” says investment bank Morgan Stanely in a note to clients.
Currently, several coastal areas are under a mandatory evacuation order, and according to officials from the National Guard, “the governors of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia have declared states of emergency,” with South Carolina activating about 750 Guardsmen so far.
“With the onset of tropical storm force winds and rain only a couple of days away, the time to prepare is now,” officials from the National Guard said via a press release.
The U.S. Navy has begun to move 30 ships out of Florence’s way, saying that its warships will be better able to weather the storm while underway versus sitting docked in port, according to Business Insider.
Florence isn’t the only storm in the Atlantic. According to NOAA’s National Hurricane Center, two additional hurricanes in the Atlantic named Helene and Isaac could potentially threaten the region in the near future. Luckily, a weather disturbance currently located south of Cuba has only a 10 percent chance of developing into a tropical cyclone.
“There are still more storms to come – the hurricane season is far from being over. We urge continued preparedness and vigilance,” said NOAA’s lead seasonal hurricane forecaster Gerry Bell, Ph.D via a press release.
However, NOAA said in August that is was now predicting that the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane season will be less active than originally predicted, giving it a “60 percent chance” of it being “a below-normal Atlantic hurricane season.”
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