Hurricane Florence may become only the fourth Category 4 hurricane to make landfall along the US East Coast north of the state of Georgia, with the others being Hugo (1989), Gracie (1959), and Hazel (1954), according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's historic database.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster ordered a mandatory evacuation of most of the state's coast beginning at noon on Tuesday.
The 1st effects were already being seen on barrier islands Monday as risky rip currents and seawater flowed over the state highway. That storm killed as many as 3,000 people and left the entire island without power for weeks and in some locations months.
The center says the storm was moving northwest at 17 miles per hour, and had maximum sustained winds of about 110 miles per hour. "We've just been overwhelmed with requests by state agencies and everybody else", he said.
A warm ocean is the fuel that powers hurricanes, and this area of the ocean is seeing temperatures peak near 85 degrees (30 Celsius), hurricane specialist Eric Blake wrote.
"We expect Florence to transition from a small-sized hurricane to a large hurricane by the time it reaches the coast", Kottlowski said. It was centred east-south-east of Cape Fear, North Carolina, and moving west.
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United States readies for 'big one' as Hurricane Florence approaches Carolinas
Several Horry County area communities are enacting ocean bans and curfews as Hurricane Florence moves closer to making landfall. At 2 a.m., the storm was centered 625 miles (1,005 km) southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, moving at 17 mph (28 kph).
Chris Brace, from Charleston, S.C. lowers hurricane shutters on a client's house in preparation for Hurricane Florence at Sullivan's Island, S.C., Monday, Sept. 10, 2018.
In addition to winds, the storm is expected to slow as it moves onto the coast and could deliver 15 to 20 inches of rain, with 30 inches locally, in North Carolina, Virginia and northern SC, the NHC said. Also, looking like a direct hit on North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
All eyes are on Hurricane Florence and its path toward the Carolinas, but other hurricanes and tropical storms are brewing as well. Cooper also declared the State of Emergency due to the potential of flooding, road closures and landslides impact on the state from Hurricane Florence.
Several meteorologists said Florence could do what Hurricane Harvey did over Texas, dumping days of rain, although not quite as bad. North Carolina State, University of North Carolina and UNC-Wilmington have all suspended classes, with UNC-Wilmington evacuating its coastline campus by noon Tuesday.
Many newcomers have moved to the coast in the almost 19 years since the last strong hurricane - Floyd - threatened the area.
A category 3 hurricane has winds of 96 to 112 miles per hour, the NHC said.
During a typical Atlantic hurricane season, the bulk of hurricanes are steered by a high-pressure system that sits around Bermuda. "We read about their names and their stories, and we want to try to know why they didn't go".
Maps of the storm's trajectory showed it most likely to hit the North Carolina shore near the SC border, making it the most powerful storm to threaten the USA mainland this year and the first of its magnitude in 29 years to strike the Carolinas.