Forecasters: Florence to Take Aim at US East Coast as Major Hurricane

Amid changing forecast, Virginia Beach leaders change plan for Hurricane Florence

Time-lapse footage captured hurricane-hunting plane fly through Florence (VIDEO)

The hurricane is likely to bring unsafe surf and rip currents along the east coast.

Follow Mike Masco on social media for the latest updates on Hurricane Florence.

At a press conference on Monday, Cooper called his state the "bullseye" for Hurricane Florence, saying they are "bracing for a hard hit". He said the city's emergency operations center will be partially activated Wednesday and fully activated on Thursday. "With Florence strengthening into a hurricane this morning and continuing to move west, Florida families need to remain alert and remember that storms like this can change course and strengthen at any moment", said Gov. Rick Scott.

In addition, in the Pacific, what's now Hurricane Olivia is forecast to approach Hawaii as a tropical storm on Tuesday.

A Category 4 hurricane with 130 miles per hour winds is bearing down on the US East Coast, bringing a risk of devastating floods.

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A rip current statement is in effect for all beaches in Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender counties. This unsettled weather pattern will continue for the next few days. The rating system from 1 to 5 is based on a hurricane's sustained wind speed. It was moving west at about 13 miles per hour. "Flooding is the deadliest result of these storms".

Florence is approximately 410 miles south of Bermuda and 975 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, as of 5 a.m. ET, according to the NHC.

Cooper's emergency declaration makes it possible to waive the state's transportation rules so North Carolina farmers can harvest and transport their crops to market faster.

A warm ocean is the fuel that powers hurricanes, and Florence will be moving over waters where temperatures are peaking near 85 degrees (30 Celsius), hurricane specialist Eric Blake wrote.

Early on Monday, Sam Lillo, a University of Oklahoma meteorology student, posted this ominous video of Florence at sunrise. "Everyone should start preparing now".

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The National Hurricane Center downgraded Isaac to a tropical storm overnight but said Tuesday that it could be "at or near hurricane levels" on Thursday, when it approaches the Lesser Antilles Islands.

"The chances of it going out to sea are extremely slim at this point", she said. Any wobble and deviation in latitudinal position of Florence over the next 72 hours could play a pivotal role in where the exact location of landfall occurs. "We just happen to be right in the middle".

It is expected to become a major hurricane by Monday night.

"This is going to be big", said Victoria Oliva, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wilmington.

Stoney urged residents to prepare now by gathering supplies, including nonperishable food, water, flashlights, and batteries. Further, residents and tourists should expect heavy prolonged rain upon the storm's arrival. The NHC says hurricane-force winds can be expected 40 miles from the center of Florence, while tropical-storm force winds extend out 150 miles.

First Advisories Sent for Hurricane Florence in South and North Carolina, Virginia
Officials in both North and SC are urging citizens to evacuate inland, especially those living in low-lying or coastal areas. It is expected to strengthen and possibly become a Category 5 storm Tuesday before closing in on North or SC on Thursday.

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