The National Hurricane Center (NHC) announced Hurricane Florence continued to strengthen Monday morning, with experts claiming the storm will likely impact Bermuda, the Bahamas, and the United States this week.
Hurricane Florence is plowing toward the East Coast as a Category 4 storm with a 500-mile wing span, forcing dire warnings and mandatory evacuations - including the entire coastline of SC and parts of Virginia and North Carolina.
By noon Monday, Florence was centered about 1,230 miles (1,985 kilometers) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, and moving west at 13 mph (20 kph).
A Category 4 hurricane with 130 miles per hour winds is bearing down on the US East Coast, bringing a risk of devastating floods. "These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions", officials said.
"Florence is expected to be an extremely risky major hurricane through Thursday", the NHC said in a bulletin.
Henry McMaster (R) on Monday ordered a mandatory evacuation of the state's coastline ahead of Hurricane Florence's expected arrival on Thursday.
Cooper said he asked President Donald Trump for a federal disaster declaration so that resources will be ready when the storm arrives.
If it makes landfall in North Carolina as a Category 4 storm, it will be the largest storm to hit the state since Hurricane Hazel in 1954.
Simpson said his office had already begun planning for the impact of the hurricane.
Preparations for Florence were intensifying up and down the densely populated coast.
Behind Isaac, Hurricane Helene is rapidly gaining strength, with wind speeds of over 105 miles per hour.
In Holden Beach, North Carolina, in the storm's path, longtime residents were boarding up homes and securing possessions.
"We are in the bull's-eye", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said at a news conference.
Hurricane Florence is hurtling toward the US East Coast.
"It is still potent, unsafe storm".
Astronaut Ricky Arnold captured this image of Hurricane Florence from the International Space Station on Monday, September 10, 2018.
Cooper and his counterparts in neighbouring SC and Virginia ordered about 1 million people to evacuate coastal homes, including along the Outer Banks barrier islands. Since reliable record-keeping began more than 150 years ago, North Carolina has been hit by only one Category 4 hurricane: Hazel, with 130 miles per hour winds, in 1954.
"From eight o'clock 'til two we were slammed", said Johnson, who sold scores of bags of sand over the weekend, saving just a few to barricade the store's own doors.
Arnold also captured hurricanes Isaac and Helene lining up behind Florence in the Atlantic.
"The evacuation order will be inconvenient, but we do not want to sacrifice one SC life, we are not going to gamble the lives of SC people", McMaster said. Isaac's forward movement was accelerating on a path to cross into the lower Caribbean on Thursday.
As of 11 a.m. EDT on Monday, Florence has been upgraded to a Category 4 storm.
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