At noon on Monday, Hurricane Florence blew into a Category 4 classification, a level experts previously predicted wouldn't occur until later in the week. Not long after, a Hurricane Hunter flight measured sustained winds near 130 miles per hour, prompting the National Hurricane Center to issue a rare special advisory, upgrading the storm to Category 4. That means sustained winds of at least 130 miles per hour and expectations of catastrophic damage, the hurricane center says. He told The Chronicle Sunday that once Florence hits land, destructive winds and huge rainfall flooding may take hold of the area. The current forecast track suggests the hurricane will most likely approach North Carolina or SC on Thursday as it gathers speed.
Here's another look at the projected path showed the center of the storm hitting near the North Carolina cities of Raleigh, Charlotte, and Greensboro. "These tropical storms and hurricanes are very risky".
Mandatory evacuation orders also were issued for more than 300,000 people in North Carolina and Virginia.
The big difference with Florence is that we are in almost uncharted waters.
As of Monday evening, Florence is moving west northwest at 13 miles per hour and heading over warmer waters and less wind shear, which is conducive for maintaining or gaining intensity.
Preparations for Florence come as the Atlantic hurricane season hits its peak.
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Senators and Congressmen from Virginia urged President Trump Monday to declare a federal emergency before Hurricane Florence makes landfall later this week.
The hurricane is expected to reach the coast of North Carolina Thursday night into Friday morning.
Immediately to the north of Virginia, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said his state was also was "preparing for the potential of historic, catastrophic and life-threatening flooding".
Florida governor Rick Scott, whose state experiences the most hurricane-force storms in the U.S., pledged resources, expertise and guidance to the three states in which emergencies have been declared.
The storm is moving west or 280 degrees at 13 miles per hour.
"People that have typically not been exposed to them will now be exposed to them, because the storms are going to move deeper inland and affect more people", climate scientist Cindy Bruyere, who studies storms at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, previously told Business Insider.