Hurricane Florence: South Carolina evacuation before storm hits US

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Hurricane Florence is expected to be back at major hurricane status sometime Monday, and could impact the mid-Atlantic coast late this week as a category 4 hurricane.

The storm has 115 mph winds and is located 580 miles south-southeast of Bermuda and is moving west at 13 mph. In fact, there have only been four other hurricanes in our recorded history (since 1851) that have made landfall along the east coast north of Florida.

For Central Florida, Florence will bring significant wave activity along our Atlantic coast, a unsafe high rip current threat, and possible coastal erosion due to the crashing waves.

According to the U.S. National Hurricane Center, Florence rapidly strengthened into a "major" hurricane early Monday morning that will likely bring a "life-threatening" storm surge along portions of the East Coast. "Florence is expected to be an extremely unsafe major hurricane through Thursday". Forecasters say that because of the size the storm is expected to attain, it will wreak havoc regardless of how strong its winds are.

The governors of North and SC and Virginia declared states of emergency far ahead of the approaching storm. Forecasters said it now has maximum sustained winds of about 130 miles per hour and even stronger gusts.

Further out in the Atlantic, two storms - Helene and Isaac - gained hurricane force on Sunday.

"Everyone in North Carolina needs to keep a close eye on Florence and take steps now to get ready for impacts later this week", Cooper said.

Mandatory evacuations have begun along North Carolina's coast.

Heavy rain could cause severe flooding throughout the region.

CNN's forecasters warn that Florence could be the strongest and most devastating hurricane to hit North and SC in about three decades.

"Already we're getting some overwash, the ocean is coming over 12", she said, referring to the islands' main road.

"The Storms in the Atlantic are very unsafe", Trump tweeted.

“As a public safety note, the south shore will experience unsettled surf conditions associated with Hurricane Florence, and the public is encouraged to use caution on those beaches.”.

Florence is the third hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, after Hurricane Chris (Category 1) and Hurricane Beryl (Category 2), which formed in early July but didn't make landfall.

Hurricane Helene, was spinning in the Atlantic off West Africa's Cape Verde islands with 85-mph (140-kph) winds on Monday, but did not appear to pose an immediate threat to land.

Over the next 36 hours, Florence's winds could reach 150 mph, the hurricane center says.

Gov. Rick Scott released a statement on Monday urging Floridians to be prepared for the unexpected and remain on alert about Hurricane Florence.

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.