Carolinas Brace for Extremely Dangerous Hurricane Florence

Carolinas Brace for Extremely Dangerous Hurricane Florence

- Both North and SC are under states of emergency as Hurricane Florence looks to strike the Carolina coast.

The governors of Virginia, Maryland, and North and SC have declared states of emergency ahead of the storm.

Florence crossed the 74 miles per hour threshold from a tropical storm to a hurricane on Sunday morning and by 11 p.m. that night had sustained a maximum of 90 miles per hour winds.

For many, the challenge could be finding a safe refuge: If Hurricane Florence slows to a crawl just off the coast, it could carry torrential rains up into the Appalachian mountains, causing flash floods, mudslides and other risky weather across a wide area.

Swells generated by Florence are affecting Bermuda and portions of the US East Coast.

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A tracker map from the center on Monday forecast the hurricane making landfall in the Carolinas Thursday morning, and expected the storm to continue through Saturday morning, when it will have weakened to a tropical depression.

The storm was moving toward the west-northwest at about 9 miles per hour and was about 625 miles (1,005 kilometers) southeast of Bermuda.

Several meteorologists said Florence could do what Hurricane Harvey did a year ago over Texas, dumping days of rain, although not quite as bad.

As of 12 p.m. on Monday, Florence is now a Category 4 hurricane. "With Florence strengthening into a hurricane this morning and continuing to move west, Florida families need to remain alert and remember that storms like this can change course and strengthen at any moment", said Gov. Rick Scott. Tropical storms generate winds between 39 and 73 miles per hour, just below hurricane force. "Due to these conditions, Superintendent David Hallac is strongly urging all beach visitors to stay out of the Atlantic Ocean until unsafe conditions subside". The hurricane is likely to bring unsafe surf and rip currents along the east coast. North Carolina seems to be the state that could bear the brunt of the winds, along with SC and parts of southern Virginia.

The storm is expected to make landfall late on Wednesday.

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"There is an increasing risk of life-threatening impacts from Florence: storm surge at the coast, freshwater flooding from a prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall inland and damaging hurricane-force winds", a 5 a.m. advisory said.

"Florence is a threat well beyond our coast", Cooper said. "Normally, a landfalling tropical cyclone just keeps on going inland, gradually dissipating and raining itself out".

Navy ships off Virginia's coast were preparing to sail out of the path, a North Carolina university has already canceled classes and people have begun stocking up on plywood, bottled water and other supplies.

At this height of the Atlantic hurricane season, Florence was being trailed on east-to-west paths by two other hurricanes, Helene and Isaac.

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