Hurricane Florence's path: What to expect and when

Hurricane Florence's path: What to expect and when

Florence is now a Category 4 storm, packing 130 mile-per-hour winds, according to an 11 a.m. update from the U.S. Hurricane Center, and it may soon re-strengthen to near Category 5 levels.

Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall somewhere between North Carolina, South Carolina, and the Mid-Atlantic states on Thursday evening or Friday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). As of midday on Tuesday, Florence remains a powerful category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour.

At the same time Florence is expected to make its landfall, another storm, Isaac, is forecast to be at or near hurricane strength as it moves across the Lesser Antilles and into the eastern Caribbean Sea.

Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC, and North and SC have all declared states of emergency.

More than a million people are expected to flee low-lying areas, as SC and Virginia ordered mandatory evacuations of coastal areas starting on Tuesday.

The National Hurricane Center has issued its first Hurricane Watches for the east coast as Hurricane Florence continues its trek toward North Carolina. 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.

"You're going to get heavy rain, catastrophic life-threatening storm surge, and also the winds", Graham said.

On top of that, expect incredibly high storm surge - basically a wall of water that could fall on and swallow parts of the coast.

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Similar evacuations are happening all the way up to Virginia, where the governor has ordered a mandatory evacuation for residents of some low-lying coastal areas. Information gathered Tuesday by a hurricane-hunting aircraft suggests it will intensify again as it nears the coast, approaching the 157 miles per hour (253 kph) threshold for a worst-case Category 5 scenario.

McMaster made the change as official projections show Hurricane Florence moving further north.

"The time to hope Hurricane Florence away is gone".

"All the rainfall we're going to have, plus you talk about the wind - that means a lot of trees coming down, it's a lot of power outages, a lot of impacts with this system". Hurricane Harvey, they said, is a recent example of what could happen.

Although the storm's winds will likely diminish rapidly after making landfall, the heavy rain will persist as it stalls over portions of North Carolina and Virginia.

We here in North Carolina are bracing for a hard hit.

"Pretend, assume, presume that a major hurricane is going to hit right smack dab in the middle of SC and is going to go way inshore", McMaster said in a press conference. "It is an extremely risky, life-threatening, historic hurricane", Cooper said at a news conference outlining state preparations in advance of the storm.

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