The current projected path takes Florence toward the US coast, and has her making landfall in North Carolina in the afternoon on Thursday, September 13. We encourage anyone in the path of these storms to prepare themselves and to heed the warnings of State and Local officials.
Where is the hurricane now?
Panovich said he expects Florence to approach the southeast coast on Thursday.
Hurricane Florence's winds jumped up from 75 mph to 130 mph in just 25 hours, according to the Weather Channel. Its center will move between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday and approach the coast of SC or North Carolina on Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said. Two other storms also are churning in the Atlantic.
What else should I know?
"We are preparing for the worst, and of course hoping for the best", added McMaster in his own press release, adding that he made his declaration early to ensure that state agencies could deploy assets quickly.
National Weather Service officials in Honolulu urged residents to remain careful, noting that the difference between a Category 1 hurricane and a tropical storm is just 5 miles per hour wind speed.
It would be the first category four storm to hit the region since Hugo ravaged North Carolina in 1989, wreaking $7bn (£5.3bn) in damage and claiming 49 lives.
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"Once Florence moves inland, it's going to dump tremendous amounts of rain on the Carolinas and Virginia", Eck said. "If slows after landfall may cause heavier rain & winds".
The map below, published by the NOAA, shows the most likely arrival time over the next few days.
If it makes landfall in North Carolina as a Category 4 storm, it will be the largest storm to hit the state since Hurricane Hazel in 1954.
"This storm gets stronger and stronger" on its way to a head-on impact with a zone that ranges some 80 miles, Myers said. The cone of uncertainty this far out in the forecast period stretches over 400 miles since landfall is not expected until Thursday night.
Meteorologists are forecasting that Florence will continue to pick up speed before making its landfall between SC and North Carolina on Thursday as a category 3 or higher hurricane.
Hurricane Florence strengthened to a Category 3 storm on September 10, according to the National Hurricane Center's (NHC) update at 11 a.m.
Red flag warnings are keeping swimmers off beaches, as residents sandbag their homes in the communities of Myrtle Beach in SC, and the Outer Banks in North Carolina.
"The most likely scenario is that it hits the North Carolina coast", meteorologist Dale Eck said in an interview.
Freshwater flooding is extremely likely once the storm makes landfall, possibly as far inland as West Virginia.
Meanwhile, two other storms were also spinning in the Atlantic.