Hurricane Florence will be a devastating storm after landfall. It is a Category 2 storm with winds of 105 miles per hour.
As of 5 a.m., Hurricane Florence has reached maximum winds speeds of 105 miles per hour.
The storm's maximum sustained winds remain near 85 km/h with higher gusts and it is moving west near 15 km/h. The center warns that such storms will snap or uproot most trees and down power poles and that power can be out in some areas for weeks or months.
Storm surge and freshwater flooding from rainfall could become life-threatening risks, especially from SC through the mid-Atlantic.
Forecasters say the hurricane's strength is expected to fluctuate but it still will be a risky storm by the time it reaches the coast of SC or North Carolina on Thursday.
The governors of South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia have declared emergencies.
Hurricane Isaac, with winds of 75 mph, is located roughly 1,300 miles east of the Windward Islands and is expected to continue moving westward, across the lesser Antilles and into the eastern Caribbean Sea, by Wednesday night or Thursday.
Three hurricanes are in the Atlantic basin right now, with Hurricane Florence the primary concern for the east coast of the United States.
Southeastern North Carolina remains in the middle of the storm's "cone of uncertainty", with the cone extending from roughly Hilton Head, S.C., in the south to the Chesapeake Bay in the north. Forecasters said rapid intensification is likely to begin by tonight and Florence is expected to become a major hurricane by Monday.
But authorities were taking no chances as the governors of North and SC and Virginia declared states of emergency far ahead of the approaching storm. They urged residents to prepare - a request that ranges from fortifying homes and gathering supplies to preparing for possible evacuation orders. "Some units will not get underway due to maintenance status but will be taking extra precautions to avoid potential damage".
It is too early to know the exact path the storm will take but it could hit land on Thursday, the centre added. It has maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour and is moving to the west at 13 miles per hour. Little change in strength is forecast today, with slight weakening starting tonight and continuing through Tuesday. "These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions", officials said.
Even the Navy was steeling for impact as the U.S. Fleet Forces Command ordered all ships moored in the area to move further out to the open Atlantic, away from Florence's path.
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