Florence upgraded to a Category 4 and approaching the Carolinas

The storm's center will move between Bermuda and the Bahamas Tuesday and Wednesday, and is expected to approach the coast of SC or North Carolina on Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said.

Florence was 575 miles (925 kilometers) south-southeast of Bermuda and the center of the hurricane was forecast to pass between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday, the NHC said.

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 was upgraded Monday morning to a Category 3 hurricane, but grew to Category 4 a short time later, the National Hurricane Center said in its latest update Monday.

Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 100 km/h with higher gusts and additional strengthening is forecast during the next couple of days.

While the surf height at local beaches is estimated at just 3 feet Monday, the risk for life-threatening rip currents in the surf zone remains high.

WILMINGTON - Hurricane Florence has strengthened into a Category 3 storm with sustained winds of 115 miles per hour, according to the 11 a.m. update from the National Hurricane Center.

North Carolina ordered residents to evacuate the state's Outer Banks barrier islands, and the governors of Virginia, North Carolina and SC declared states of emergency.

At a news conference on Sunday, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster warned of a "likely strong hit" on the state and urged residents to begin making preparations now.

That's because Florence will reach areas that have already experienced a lot of rain in recent weeks - and it won't take much for flash floods to start in these regions. Florence is expected to remain an extremely unsafe major hurricane through Thursday.

The storm was moving west-northwest at around nine miles per hour, and was forecast to drench a large swath of the US East Coast running from northern Florida to New Jersey.

Arnold also captured hurricanes Isaac and Helene lining up behind Florence in the Atlantic.

No coastal watches or warnings were in effect as of Monday morning.

Hurricane Florence intensified Monday, becoming a Category 4 storm, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

"The Department of Defense is working very closely with the Department of Homeland Security and is prepared to assist FEMA and our other Federal partners in supporting the States impacted by the storm", Manning said.

GFS weather models and some of the hurricane forecast models show particularly bad scenario outcomes for Florence, involving a major hurricane landfall around the Carolina's, followed by a curve north and up the coast slightly before heading back out to sea.

All of Hatteras Island was under mandatory evacuation order and other parts of the Outer Banks will have to evacuate by 7 a.m. EDT (1100 GMT) on Tuesday, Dare County Emergency Management said in a statement.

  • Joe Gonzales