North and SC are anticipated to bear the brunt of Florence, which the National Hurricane Center said on Monday had strengthened to a Category 3 storm.
"While our state is not under any current weather advisories, in Florida, we know how quickly a major storm can shift its path and we cannot leave preparedness up to chance".
Where is the hurricane now? Its center will move between Bermuda and the Bahamas Tuesday and Wednesday, and approach the coast of SC or North Carolina on Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said. As the forecast becomes clearer, Florence poses three challenges: coastal storm surge, strong winds and inland flooding that inundates rivers and low-lying ground.
Storm surge and hurricane watches may be issued Tuesday morning for portions of southeastern USA states, the NHC said.
"This storm is going to be a direct hit on our coast", said Jeff Byard, associate administrator for response and recovery at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
As of 11 p.m., the National Hurricane Center said the storm was about 1,085 miles east-southeast of Bald Head Island.
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That's a reference to the infamous storm that came ashore just north of Charleston, S.C.in late September 1989 as a category three system - killing almost three dozen SC residents and doing an estimated $10 billion worth of damage.
"Action today can avoid losses due to Florence".
"This is a very unsafe hurricane", McMaster said, adding that the evacuation order for coastal counties was "mandatory, not voluntary".
The hurricane roared from a Category 1 (90 mph) to a Category 4 (130 mph) in just 13 hours, an extremely rapid intensification, Colorado State University meteorologist Phil Klotzbach said. The early projections show a 20-30"+ rainfall forecast, winds over 110 miles per hour, and a major storm surge!"
The largest U.S. Marine Corps base on the East Coast, Camp Lejeune and its extensive beachfront northeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, lie within the NHC's forecast "cone" for possible landfall.
"This one is hard", she said, having been through hurricane damage before.
"Life-threatening freshwater flooding is likely from a prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall event, which may extend inland over the Carolinas and Mid Atlantic for hundreds of miles as Florence is expected to slow down as it approaches the coast and moves inland".
Accuweather's Alex Sosnowski noted that the storm will also affect the mid-Atlantic region. "We're getting the resources in place for what we may need.now the people of North Carolina need to get ready".
Oliva said various models have the storm's eye making landfall anywhere between Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Cape Hatteras in the Outer Banks.
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