‘Extremely dangerous’ Hurricane Florence is now packing winds of 220 km/h

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But it's forecast to strengthen to near the level of a Category 5 storm - which has sustained winds of 157 miles per hour or more.

The US-based National Hurricane Centre said: “Florence is forecast to rapidly strengthen to a major hurricane by Monday, and is expected to remain an extremely unsafe major hurricane through Thursday.

North and South Carolina are under a state of emergency, and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has ordered the coastline to evacuate.

McMaster, Northam and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper each have asked for a federal emergency declaration so that their states can get federal aid if the hurricane makes landfall in those states.

Florence is forecast to pass between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Wednesday and approach the coast of North Carolina or SC on Thursday. "This hurricane has the potential to cause life-threatening storm surge, catastrophic wind damage and significant flooding when we expect it to make landfall between Thursday and Friday, and it may slow down inland and unload feet of water".

Duke officials are closely monitoring forecasts for Hurricane Florence, which is on its way to becoming one of the strongest storms to hit the Southeast coast, according the Weather Channel.

The mandatory evacuation orders in sc take effect on Tuesday at noon in eight counties along the state's 187-mile coastline. The order will extend to all of Dare County beginning Tuesday morning.

"With time, the wind pushes the water into every nook and cranny you can think of", Graham said.

Duke Energy is already projecting widespread power outages in the Carolinas that could take days to weeks to restore, spokeswoman Grace Rountree said.

This satellite image taken yesterday shows Hurricane Florence off the U.S. east coast in the Atantic Ocean.

The storm forced people to cut their vacations short along the coast.

The most likely arrival time of tropical storm-force winds from Tropical Storm Olivia as of 11 p.m. Monday.

The governors of South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia have declared emergencies.

With little wind to pull the storm apart, Florence's hurricane wind field is expected to expand over coming days, increasing its storm surge and inland wind threats.

Last week, Florence became the first major hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic season.

Everyone is encouraged not to just focus on the storm's eye or center, as Florence is growing in size.

"If it decides to come here, we're gone", he said.

According to USA Today, the National Hurricane Centre has said Florence is set to hit the US East Coast later this week, possibly as early as Wednesday.

The Navy ordered all ships at the world's largest base to sea on Monday to avoid the battering of Hurricane Florence.

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