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The "major" hurricane was about 845 kilometres south-southeast of Bermuda on Monday and moving toward land at approximately 20 km/h, according to an advisory from the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

WILMINGTON - Hurricane Florence has strengthened into a Category 3 storm with sustained winds of 115 miles per hour, according to the 11 a.m. update from the National Hurricane Center. Officials have declared states of emergency in North and South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

"This storm is going to be a direct hit on our coast", said Jeff Byard, associate administrator for response and recovery at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

A storm surge warning was issued from South Santee River, South Carolina, to Duck, North Carolina, and the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, including the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers. This, say experts, will broaden the storm's wind field.

Ken Graham, director of the National Hurricane Center, doesn't see anything in Hurricane Florence's path that will weaken the category 4 hurricane before it makes landfall.

Florence is now around 800 miles from Cape Fear, North Carolina, moving at 16mph with winds of 130mph.

Category 4 hurricane winds are in the 130 to 156 mile range, according to the National Hurricane Center.

South Carolina's governor ordered the state's entire coastline to be evacuated starting at noon Tuesday and predicted that one million people would flee. It may move a little north into Virginia or a little south into SC.

"You're going to get heavy rain, catastrophic life-threatening storm surge and also the winds". Eastern on Tuesday, Florence was swirling in the Atlantic toward the Carolinas coast at a rate of 17 miles per hour, the NHC said.

"All you have to do is look up at your ceiling and think about 12ft of water - that, folks, is extremely life-threatening".

Panovich said one thing to worry about is the storm slowing down as it approaches the Carolina's.

"The latest NHC forecast track is very similar to the previous two advisory tracks", the NHC also stated in its discussion at 5 p.m. The current forecast for both the impact and aftermath of the hurricane would require those officials to divert critical resources from what could be much more significant duties.

The last time the USA capital declared a state of emergency was in January 2016 when a winter storm dubbed "Snowzilla" blanketed the capital region in knee-deep snow.

Once Florence makes landfall, it'll be the first major Atlantic hurricane of the 2018 season to hit the mainland US.

Liz Browning Fox was planning to ride out the storm nevertheless on the Outer Banks. "So this is, again, we are just hoping people take heed and do not underestimate this storm".