Hurricane Florence looks absolutely wild from the International Space Station

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All eyes are on Hurricane Florence, now that it has intensified to a major Category 4 storm and is heading to the southeastern US coast.

Once it makes landfall, Florence is predicted to stall and remain over North Carolina for at least 24 hours - increasing the threat of unsafe flooding, NHC director Ken Graham said on Monday. Hurricane Florence was upgraded to a category 4 hurricane today (category 5 is the highest level), with maximum sustained winds around 130 miles per hour.

The storm was moving toward the west-northwest at about 9 miles per hour and was about 625 miles (1,005 kilometers) southeast of Bermuda.

Virginia and North Carolina have also declared states of emergency, which allows them to call in the National Guard.

"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. "When you stall a system like this and it moves real slow, some of that rainfall can extend well away from the center".

Residents of North and SC began evacuating coastal areas on Monday, after Hurricane Florence intensified into a category four storm, stripping supermarket shelves and stocking up on fuel for their cars.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said Sunday he was asking President Donald Trump for a federal emergency declaration in anticipation of "significant impacts not only on our state but the entire east coast". "We don't know what to expect with a Category 4 or 5", said Gelhaus.

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Florence projected to strengthen to major hurricane
Meanwhile, a new tropical storm , "Helene", has formed in the eastern Atlantic off the western coast of Africa. Florence is now 1,600 miles from the East Coast and moving toward Bermuda, the National Hurricane Center said.

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The last Category 4 storm to hit the Carolinas was Hugo, which barreled into Charleston, South Carolina, in 1989.

"These three storms are going to be taking diverting paths, one affecting Puerto Rico, but the one we're watching right now closely is Hurricane Florence, which right now is a Category 2 storm". That would cause more flooding rains across a large swath of the South, after Tropical Storm Gordon inundated the area earlier this month. The United States was hit with a series of high-powered hurricanes a year ago, including Hurricane Maria, which killed about 3,000 people in Puerto Rico, and Hurricane Harvey, which killed 68 and caused an estimated $1.25 billion in damage from catastrophic flooding in Houston.

Hurricane Helene will likely continue to strengthen since it is in a low wind shear environment and warm waters. The state's emergency management division has posted additional information on the evacuations and how to prepare. This map shows the estimated arrival time of tropical storm force winds.

Florence is travelling across the Atlantic Ocean and is threatening to hit the East Coast later this week when it could be at Category 4 strength.

Neighboring Dare County - where much of the staff that looks after the herd lives - and other coastal counties along the coast issued evacuation orders for all residents and tourists. Unfathomable." He also asked meteorologist Philip Klotzbach (who specializes in "Atlantic basin seasonal hurricane forecasts") about the storm's rapid intensification and got this answer: "It has intensified by 40 mph in the past 13 hours.

But the season is just now peaking, and Hurricanes Florence, Isaac, and Helene are a stark reminder that we are not out of the woods yet.

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