In a 8 a.m. update, National Hurricane Center forecasters said sustained winds dropped slightly to 130 miles per hour but restrengthening is expected to begin later today, with the storm likely to make landfall along the North or SC coast by Thursday.
The slow-moving storm, the most severe hurricane to threaten the USA mainland this year, was rated a Category 4 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale and located about 845 miles (1,360 km) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, at 1:30 p.m. EDT (1730 GMT), according to the NHC.
Hurricane Florence - the most powerful storm to threaten the Carolinas in almost three decades - is expected to strengthen, say forecasters. The initial damage is likely due come from the high winds and storm surge-high tides carried by the winds--and then by the enormous soaking it will likely leave in both North and SC, as well as Virginia, as it moves slowly inland.
Dare County Emergency Management announced that a mandatory evacuation of Hatteras Island will begin for all residents and visitors beginning at noon Monday.
Florence is barreling straight for North Carolina, with coastal residents fleeing what may be the most powerful hurricane to hit the state in 64 years. Upon immediate landfall, the threats are you standard hurricane threats - storm surge, strong winds, tornadoes. Seven-day rainfall totals are forecast to reach 10 to 20 inches over much of North Carolina and Virginia, and even 30 inches in some places.
"Life-threatening flash floods" are now being predicted as the storm brings "very heavy, prolonged rainfall" across a large portion of the Carolinas and mid-Atlantic, said a tweet from the National Hurricane Center. Some are calling the hurricane the "East Coast Harvey" as it is passing through warmer than usual waters, helping it grow.
When asked in a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Sheriff P.J. Tanner said the school district must first evaluate how many teachers and staff evacuated ahead of the order.
As Hurricane Florence barrels toward the Carolina coast, experts are warning of its potentially disastrous effects.
A fleet of federal hurricane hunting craft - including planes and personnel from NASA, the Air Force, and NOAA - take flights directly through hurricanes to give storm forecasters an improved idea of what's churning inside the storm, and what might happen next.
The Phillies, chasing the Braves in the NL East, are scheduled to play a home series over the weekend against the Marlins as Florence is expected to make its way inland and north. It's expected to make landfall Thursday into Friday. It might not leave, which means we're going to have some flooding.
That amount of storm surge would put Florence on par with Hurricane Fran. With all of this in mind, it's rare for a hurricane to strike this part of the United States as a category 4.
Mr Graham said: "The water could overtake some of these barrier islands and keep on going".
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