Florence rapidly strengthened into a potentially catastrophic Category 4 hurricane on Monday as it closed in on North and SC, carrying winds and water that could wreak havoc over a wide stretch of the eastern United States later this week.
The storm has 115 mph winds and is located 580 miles south-southeast of Bermuda and is moving west at 13 mph.
Hurricane Florence, a unsafe Category 4 hurricane, continued it's slow slog toward the N.C. coast late Monday, with forecasters expecting the storm to strengthen even more before likely weakening before landfall.
Hurricane Florence was traveling over warm Atlantic waters and gaining energy as it moved 625 miles southeast of Bermuda Monday.
"While the impacts of Tropical Storm Florence to Virginia are still uncertain, forecasts increasingly expect the storm to strengthen into a major hurricane that could seriously affect the East Coast and Virginians", Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam told reporters on Saturday.
Hurricane Florence is now a Major Category 4 hurricane and is on track to make landfall on the east coast of the United States later this week.
It says that the winds are likely to hit North and SC around Thursday morning, and Pennsylvania by the evening.
Preparations for Florence come as the Atlantic hurricane season hits its peak.
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The National Hurricane Center said Monday the monster storm will be close to Category 5 strength by Tuesday.
Thousands have also been ordered to evacuate the outer banks of North Carolina, the Charlotte Observer reports: "A State of Emergency was declared Monday on North Carolina's Hatteras Island, with islanders and tourists leading what is expected to be a complete evacuation of coastal Dare and Hyde Counties". The state's emergency management agency said it's "preparing for the possibility of a large-scale disaster".
McMaster said folks should prepare for a lot of flooding in the Pee Dee area. Officials in SC reversed the flow of traffic on some highways so that all major roads led away from the sea to speed evacuations.
Trump tweeted Monday afternoon that the federal government was monitoring the storm and was ready to help.
Sustained winds have reached nearly 105 miles per hour.
"This latest briefing is part of the President's monitoring of multiple storms that are predicted to affect the U.S.in the coming days", Sanders said in the statement, adding that the White House is in contact with governor's offices in all the areas affected, including the Carolinas.
"Warm sea surface temperatures and low wind shear (which, when high, can zap the energy from a storm) have set up flawless conditions for Florence to intensify".
"North Carolina faces three threats here". The counter-clockwise rotation of hurricanes means more damage to the storm's upper right quadrant, viewing it from above, but less impact to the lower left side.
AccuWeather meteorologist Brett Rossi said the ground in North and SC and Virginia is already saturated from recent rains.