Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall somewhere between North Carolina, South Carolina, and the Mid-Atlantic states on Thursday evening or Friday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
"Florence is forecast to rapidly strengthen to a major hurricane by Monday, and is expected to remain an extremely risky major hurricane through Thursday", the NHC said in an advisory issued at 9:00 pm (local time) Sunday. The hurricane center cited data from a NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft that showed Florence was rapidly intensifying, with maximum sustained winds near 140 miles per hour.
"These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip currents", the National Hurricane Center said.
"Florence is expected to be an extremely risky major hurricane through Thursday (Sept. 13)", said officials.
"We are preparing for the worst, and of course hoping for the best", added McMaster in his own press release, adding that he made his declaration early to ensure that state agencies could deploy assets quickly.
"A high-pressure ridge building to the north and northwest of Florence is expected to steer the hurricane west-northwestward to northwestward at a much faster forward speed over the southwest Atlantic during the next few days".
"NOAA Hurricane Hunter plane investigating Florence found that its winds had increased to 130 miles per hour late Monday morning", said The Weather Channel.
"If the hurricane miraculously, overnight, decides to go somewhere else, we can take corrective action", he said, saying it was easier to "stand down" state resources than have them "stand up" at a moment's notice.
In North Carolina, evacuations have been ordered in Dare County, which includes the Outer Banks and Hatteras, a popular vacation spot, as well as other coastal counties, according to The Richmond Times-Dispatch. "Already we're getting some overwash, the ocean is coming over 12", she said, referring to the islands' main road.
South Carolina Emergency Management will open their emergency shelters on Tuesday based on need. It brings with it winds of 111 - 129 miles per hour. Olivia is forecast to make landfall in the Hawaiian Islands Wednesday as a Tropical Storm. She grew up on the shore, and says this will be only the second time she's evacuated. Troops have received ready to deploy orders for Virginia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.
Storms increase in frequency and intensity by mid-August and into September as temperatures in the Atlantic climb to their highest levels, Javaheri said.
Early on Monday, Sam Lillo, a University of Oklahoma meteorology student, posted this ominous video of Florence at sunrise.
The storm is expected to produce 3 to 5 inches of rain across Martinique, Dominica, and Guadeloupe, with near 10 inches possible in isolated areas, forecasters said.