The most recent update from the National Hurricane Center shows that Hurricane Florence is holding steady as a monster Category 4 storm with 130 miles per hour sustained winds, as of 1:36 a.m. Tuesday.
The Atlantic hurricane's maximum sustained winds have increased to almost 130 miles per hour (195 kilometers per hour), the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in an advisory issued at noon Eastern Time (1600 GMT).
The National Hurricane Center is advising people in the hurricane's path to prepare for potentially life-threatening storm surges, freshwater flooding and damaging winds as Florence impacts the U.S. this week. Large swells could be generated and cause damage in some parts of the state, which survived brushes with hurricanes Hector and Lane in recent weeks.
President Donald Trump issued a strong warning to those in the path of Hurricane Florence, which is on track to hit the East Coast as a major storm later this week.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster also declared a state of emergency Saturday and temporarily suspended regulations for vehicles transporting supplies and utilities - like gas, electricity and medical supplies, among others.
It says that the winds are likely to hit North and SC around Thursday morning, and Pennsylvania by the evening.
The center of the hurricane was forecast to move between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday and approach the Southeastern US coast on Thursday as a Category 3 storm or higher, according to the hurricane center.
Hazel also wreaked havoc on Southern Ontario, dumping over 200 milimetres of rain on Toronto alone, while packing winds over 100 km/h. NASA's Aqua satellite caught Hurricane Florence developing an eye Sunday as the storm ramped up its intensity. "The last Atlantic hurricane to intensify as rapidly as far north as Florence's current location is Hurricane Humberto (2007)".
The National Hurricane Center said Monday the monster storm will be close to Category 5 strength by Tuesday.
On North Carolina's Outer Banks, Dawn Farrow Taylor, 50, was gathering photos and important documents and filling prescriptions Monday before heading inland.
North Carolina's governor declared a state of emergency on Sunday, one day after SC.
Its maximum sustained winds were at 105 miles per hour. She grew up on the shore, and says this will be only the second time she's evacuated.
Major flooding is predicted for a vast swath of land from Roanoke, Virginia to Charlotte, North Carolina.
The hurricane center noted that, when it comes to predicting the path of a hurricane four and five days in the future, it can be off by an average of about 140 and 180 nautical miles.
The governor said residents should prepare for ocean surge, strong winds, and inland flooding.
The United States faced a series of high-powered hurricanes a year ago, including Hurricane Maria, which killed some 3,000 people in Puerto Rico, and Hurricane Harvey, which caused an estimated US$1.25 billion in damage when it brought catastrophic flooding to Houston.