"Florence is going to drop tremendous amount of rain, not as much as [Hurricane] Harvey brought to Texas but there will nearly definitely be flooding", Salna says. It was moving to the west at 16 miles per hour with maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour.
President Donald Trump on September 11 declared states of emergency for North and SC, to open avenues for federal aid. People across the region rushed to buy bottled water and other supplies, board up their homes, pull their boats out of the water and get out of town.
The rapidly growing hurricane-currently circling Bermuda-is expected to make contact with the East Coast early Thursday morning, predicted Wes Hohenstein, chief meteorologist at CBS 17. The report also said that some facilities for inmates in Virginia are also planning evacuations, according to the state's Departments of Corrections.
"This storm is too powerful and its path is too uncertain to take any chances", McMaster said.
The storm strengthened from 130 miles per hour to 140 miles per hour and is Category 4, the NHC said.
There was very little calm before the storm in Havelock Monday, as residents, emergency personnel and governmental leaders prepared for what could be the strongest hurricane the area has experienced in more than six decades.
As of Sunday night, the hurricane was centered in southeast Bermuda and moving west at 7 miles per hour.
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"There is an increasing risk of two life-threatening impacts from Florence: storm surge at the coast, freshwater flooding from a prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall event inland, and damaging hurricane-force winds", the NHC warned.
Marshall: When should we now expect landfall along the coast?
The governor warned residents that Florence was gaining strength and that the winds would likely be higher than other recent hurricanes.
But by Tuesday morning, the policies at Southwest extended as far north as Maryland to include the carrier's busy base at Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI).
At noon Monday, a mandatory evacuation order was issued for North Carolina's Hatteras Island.
Grocery stores began selling out of water, milk and bread, and supply stores were struggling to stock batteries, plywood and generators as early as Sunday.
Ryan Deeck, a Walmart grocery department manager in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, said, according to Myrtle Beach Online: "Literally, they are filling buggies full of water, shopping carts full of water".