Hurricane Florence: South Carolina evacuation before storm hits US

Hurricane Florence: South Carolina evacuation before storm hits US

Hurricane Florence: South Carolina evacuation before storm hits US

Hurricane Florence is quickly gaining strength in the Atlantic Ocean as it moves on a track for a direct strike on the East Coast, turning into a powerful Category 3 storm with 115 miles per hour winds on Monday morning. It's now about 575 miles southeast of Bermuda, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in an 12 p.m.

Florence is expected to become a major hurricane Monday morning and "remain an extremely risky major hurricane through Thursday, " the hurricane center said in its 5 a.m. advisory.

In its 11 p.m. Sunday advisory, the National Hurricane Center upgraded Tropical Storm Isaac to a Category 1 hurricane, with winds of almost 75 miles per hour.

Feasting off the energy from unusually strong sea surface temperatures, Hurricane Florence is intensifying quickly and tracking inexorably toward landfall along the U.S. Southeast or Mid-Atlantic coast on Thursday.

As the danger became clear over the weekend, the governors of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia all declared states of emergency.

In a tweet Monday, President Donald Trump urged the "incredible citizens" of the Carolinas and the East Coast to prepare for Hurricane Florence.

"We here in North Carolina are bracing for a hard hit", Cooper said during a press conference outlining the state's preparations.

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This is the most powerful storm to take aim at the U.S. mainland this year and could be upgraded to a Category Five with winds higher than 157mph. Florence is expected to remain an extremely risky major hurricane through Thursday.

The Miami-based center said in its 5 a.m. ET advisory that Florence was about 625 miles (1,005 kilometers) southeast of Bermuda, moving west northwest at 9 mph (15 kmh).

It is over warm water and a favorable upper level environment so rapid strengthening is forecast and Florence is forecast to be a major hurricane Monday morning. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 30 miles from the center; tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 140 miles.

A mandatory evacuation was ordered for Hatteras Island and Dare County in North Carolina.

NHC spokesman Dennis Feltgen said historically, 90 percent of fatalities from hurricanes, tropical storms and tropical depressions have been caused by water.

Navy ships off Virginia's coast are getting ready to sail out of the path of the powerful hurricane and one North Carolina university has cancelled classes.

Florence was producing large swells expected to reach from the northern Caribbean to the southern coasts of Canada's Maritime provinces.

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