Hurricane Florence Expected to Become Major Hurricane Very Soon

This enhanced satellite image made available by NOAA shows Tropical Storm Florence center in the Atlantic Ocean on Saturday Sept. 8 2018 at 2:45

This enhanced satellite image made available by NOAA shows Tropical Storm Florence center in the Atlantic Ocean on Saturday Sept. 8 2018 at 2:45

Hurricane Florence is expected to move toward the U.S. East Coast this upcoming week with the potential of life-threatening flooding and gusty winds.

Lining up behind Florence, Isaac was about 1,150 miles (1,855 kilometers) east of the Windward Islands with top winds of 75 mph (120 kph) early Monday, accelerating on a path to cross into the lower Caribbean Thursday as a weak hurricane.

The NHC was also tracking two other storms farther out in the Atlantic.

The Miami-based center said that it was still too early to predict the hurricane's exact path but that a huge coastal area from SC to the mid-Atlantic region should prepare for a major strike late in the week.

U.S. President Donald Trump, whose administration was criticized as being slow to respond to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico a year ago, canceled a political rally planned for Friday in Jackson, Mississippi, over safety concerns related to Florence, his campaign said. Even before the evacuation order, Dare County emergency officials warned that rough seas and strong rip currents already were creating risky conditions. Forecasters warn that the predicted track is likely to change - but for now, it shows the strong hurricane bearing down on the North Carolina coast, with a potential landfall north of Wilmington.

Editor's note: How are you preparing for Hurricane Florence?

Some portions of the Carolinas could see as much as 30 to 40 inches of rain from Florence, the National Weather Service said, which would lead to river flooding that "could last for days or weeks" after the storm.

"We are preparing for the worst, and of course hoping for the best", South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said.

Coastal and inland residents from SC to Virginia have been advised that the risk of life-threatening flooding from Hurricane Florence is increasing, both from storm surge and heavy rain.

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"This is a real hurricane we have coming", McMaster said Monday.

Over the years, powerful storms such as 1989's Hurricane Hugo have wreaked damage across the Carolinas, but only one Category 4 hurricane, Hazel, has made landfall on North Carolina in the last 150 years.

A mandatory evacuation order was issued for North Carolina's Hatteras Island starting at noon Monday, Dare County Emergency Management. said.

Florence was expected to remain an extremely risky, major hurricane and was forecast to approach the southeastern coast of the United States on Thursday, the NHC added.

Olivia is expected to move west through Monday before turning west-southwest late Monday and early Tuesday local time. The National Hurricane Center issued another update saying there are no coastal watches or warnings in effect, but hurricane and storm surge watches could be issued Tuesday morning. That means sustained winds of at least 130 miles per hour and expectations of catastrophic damage, the hurricane center says. Forecasters said Florence was expected to become an extremely unsafe major hurricane sometime Monday and remain that way for days.

Tropical Storm Florence is expected become a "major hurricane" Monday as it continues to approach the southeastern U.S. East Coast.

Helene - now just southeast of the Cabo Verde islands off the African coast - had winds of 85 miles per hour, and was expected to turn northwest and then north into the open Atlantic by midweek, the NHC said.

The governors of South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia have declared emergencies.

August 28 - Florence formed as a tropical wave off of the west coast of Africa.

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"The Storms in the Atlantic are very risky", President Trump said. SC emergency management officials said they were "preparing for the possibility of a large-scale disaster".

In coastal Charleston, South Carolina, city officials offered sandbags to residents, while Myrtle Beach officials urged people to secure their homes.

"Literally, they are filling buggies full of water, shopping carts full of water", Ryan Deeck, grocery department manager at a Walmart, told The Sun News.

North Carolina crews were getting bulldozers and chain saws ready.

In Jacksonville, North Carolina, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) from the coast, some residents picked up hurricane supplies during their normal weekend shopping, The Daily News reported.

"I'm telling them to go inland, but I'm anxious about the rain and tornadoes too", Roberts said.

The Navy said all ships in Virginia's coastal Hampton Roads area were preparing to leave port for open seas.

Florida-based Carnival Cruise Line was re-routing its cruise ships, but there were other hurricanes to contend with.

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