'Extremely Dangerous' Florence On Track to Hit East Coast As Major Hurricane

'Extremely Dangerous' Florence On Track to Hit East Coast As Major Hurricane

Olivia's maximum sustained winds are about 60 miles per hour, after the storm weakened from Category 1 strength, forecasters said.

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.

Concerns about the monster storm extended even into Virginia.

The hurricane has been rapidly strengthening all morning.

The storm was producing large swells expected to reach from the northern Caribbean to the southern coasts of Canada's Maritime provinces. The storm was moving at 13 mph, some 580 miles south-southeast of Bermuda.

The National Hurricane Center warns that Florence could soon cause a coastal surge that includes flooding before the storm is projected for US landfall (probably) on Thursday.

The center of the hurricane was forecast to move between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday and approach the southeastern coast of the United States on Thursday as a Category 3 storm or higher, according to the hurricane center.

A "major" hurricane is one with sustained winds of more than 110 miles per hour.

Landfall somewhere along the Carolinas has now become more likely, where the threat for life-threating storm surge and inland flooding has increased.

"To the incredible citizens of North Carolina, South Carolina and the entire East Coast - the storm looks very bad!" wrote the president, who cancelled a planned rally Friday in Jackson, Mississippi in light of the approaching storm.

Hurricane Florence continues to grow in size and magnitude as it barrels toward the U.S. East Coast.

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Fox News senior meteorologist Janice Dean provides update on storm track. But current models show it striking the East Coast anywhere between Florida and Washington D.C.

SC has ordered the mandatory evacuation of its entire coast, and evacuations were also ordered for several North Carolina towns, as Category 4 Hurricane Florence continues her aggressive pursuit towards the states. The state has begun enforcing a law against price gouging.

"I need my stuff for [my] grandbabies - baby food and snacks", she said. Those two states, as well as Virginia, have declared a state of emergency while they prepare.

At a press conference on Monday, Cooper called his state the "bullseye" for Hurricane Florence, saying they are "bracing for a hard hit". But experts are urging people along the eastern seaboard to be especially cautious.

"Action today can avoid losses due to Florence", he said. "Wait was about 20 min - long but fast-moving".

Major flooding is predicted for a vast swath of land from Roanoke, Virginia to Charlotte, North Carolina. The famed vacation destination of Hilton Head, South Carolina is also in the storm's likely path.

The National Weather Service advised people to put together a hurricane emergency kit that "will contain one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, a three-day supply of non-perishable food, a battery-powered or hand cranked radio, a flashlight, a first aid kit, moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation, and a charged backup battery for your cell phone".

Now tracking in the Atlantic Ocean southeast of the US mainland, "A turn toward the northwest is forecast to occur late Wednesday night", the latest NHC dispatch stated.

Accuweather's Alex Sosnowski noted that the storm will also affect the mid-Atlantic region.

Hurricane Florence is the first of what looks like could be a trio of storms to hit the U.S. in rapid succession.

The Atlantic hurricane season officially began June 1, but cooler water and higher wind shear - winds moving at different speeds and directions - early in the season are less than ideal for tropical systems to gain and maintain strength. A Category 5 storm has the potential to cause catastrophic damage.

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