Packing winds of up to 220 km/h (140 mph) late Monday, Florence was expected to further strengthen and become "an extremely unsafe major hurricane" by the time in makes landfall in the Carolinas on Thursday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in a 21:00 UTC update.
Another storm, Hurricane Isaac, however, is expected to hit the Lesser Antilles as a "minimal" Category One storm or "strong tropical storm" on Thursday.
"The combination of storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline".
Florence is a Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 220 kilometers per hour and forecasters think it will gain more strength Tuesday or Wednesday. "You need to look at the cone", which he said now spans the distance from South Carolina's Edisto Beach to the border between North Carolina and Virginia - a distance of about 500 miles. It strengthened rapidly last week before it was weakened by wind shear.
Far from this hurricane parade on the other side of the globe, Tropical Storm Olivia is flying solo east of Hawaii.
Wildfire that closed key California highway doubles in size
Wildfires in California have scorched far more ground this year than in 2017, one of the most destructive in the state's history. The California Highway Patrol said Thursday the closure of Interstate 5 in Shasta County has significantly snarled traffic.
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster ordered an evacuation of his state's entire coast and predicted as many as one million people would leave their homes. Other counties are evacuating low lying and flood prone areas.
In neighboring Maryland, Governor Larry Hogan said his state was readying for potentially "historic and catastrophic rainfall, life-threatening flooding, and high winds". Eastern on Tuesday, Florence was swirling in the Atlantic toward the Carolinas coast at a rate of 17 miles per hour, the NHC said.
"We can not emphasize the importance to take action now", he said.
Airlines have allowed passengers to change travel plans that take them into the hurricane's possible path.
Scientists have also warned that the waters of the Atlantic have been unusually warm, which could ramp up the storm's winds to make it close to Category 5 intensity. It was the first time South Caroline has reversed its highways for an evacuation since Hurricane Floyd in 1999.
"That scenario has a high probability of occurring in North Carolina and Virginia and possibly portions of neighboring states in the Southeast, Appalachians and mid-Atlantic late this week and this coming weekend".
Liz Browning Fox was planning to ride out the storm nevertheless on the Outer Banks.
- Jack Ma: English teacher turned internet tycoon
- Beware, NFL: Eagles defense may have gotten even better
- Serena Williams fined $17K for rules violations at US Open
- England v Spain: My conscience is clear on Mohamed Salah - Sergio Ramos
- President Trump Praises North Korea's Toned-Down Parade
- Dolphins win epic, twice delayed, opener over Titans
- Trump dismisses Woodward book as a ‘joke’
- Hurricane Florence grows to Category 4; evacuations ordered
- India celebrates gay sex ruling with dance, chocolate and tears
- Nicki Minaj on Cardi B fight: She says she was 'humiliated'