Hurricane Florence is tracking toward the East Coast with inevitability rarely seen in storms several days away from landfall. While forecasters were careful to cite “high uncertainty” in recent days, their tone changed after watching the storm’s eventual path barely shift from what they had considered to be a worst-case scenario.
Monday morning, as the storm rapidly gained strength, the National Hurricane Center was forecasting Florence to become a strong Category 4 storm before making landfall along the Southeast or Mid-Atlantic coast on Thursday.
Computer model forecasts generally project the storm to make landfall between northern South Carolina and the North Carolina Outer Banks, although shifts in the track are still possible and storm impacts will expand great distances beyond where landfall occurs.
The bright colours and patterns of cone snails have led curious or inquisitive people to pick them up, sometimes with tragic consequences when the snail fires its harpoon in self-defense. About 30 human deaths have been recorded from cone snail envenomation. One species, Conus geographus, is known colloquially as the “cigarette snail,” in the belief that the victim will have only enough time to smoke a cigarette before perishing. The harpoon can penetrate gloves or even wetsuits. Symptoms of a cone snail sting include intense pain, swelling, numbness and tingling. Symptoms can start immediately or can be delayed in onset for days. Severe cases involved muscle paralysis, changes in vision and respiratory failure that can lead to death. There is no antivenin, and treatment involves providing life support until the venom is metabolised by the victim.