Florence grew into a major hurricane on Monday morning and was upgraded again to a Category 4 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane strength at midday as its top sustained wind speeds reached 130 miles per hour.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam also declared states of emergency, while Florida Gov. Rick Scott cautioned residents that the storm's path could easily turn south. With winds of over 105mph, Florence is category 2 hurricane.
At this statistical height of the Atlantic hurricane season, Florence was being trailed on east-to-west paths by two hurricanes, Helene and Issac. The farther inland Florence goes, the more widespread the flooding rains will be.
Projections on Monday show the storm making landfall in the area of Wilmington, N.C., early Friday morning, but with much of SC still under threat of seeing a significant impact.
Florence is actually the lone major hurricane of the season so far as it was initially a category 4 hurricane in the open Atlantic before weakening and now restrengthening again. By evening, the storm was centered about 1,170 miles (1,880 km) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, the NHC said.
A BWS spokesman said: Bermuda should remain outside the radius of tropical storm force winds and the only significant impact is expected to be rough to very rough southeasterly swells, which could create hazardous rip currents, especially along the South Shore..
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If or when hurricane Florence does make it to the USA coastline it could do so as a major hurricane, as intensity forecasts show Florence reaching a higher storm category again.
Red flags flying on beaches warned swimmers to stay out of waters as seas began kicking up.
U.S. President Donald Trump, whose administration was criticized as being slow to respond to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico previous year, canceled a political rally planned for Friday in Jackson, Mississippi, over safety concerns related to Florence, his campaign said.
"I'll see by Wednesday how that goes - we got over 48 hours before that happens", Cesal said.
"We are preparing for the worst, and of course hoping for the best", South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said, adding that his declaration would allow state agencies to deploy assets quickly to the coast. Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune urged people to secure their homes but said it was too early to know if evacuations will be ordered.
"A high-pressure ridge building to the north and northwest of Florence is expected to steer the hurricane west-northwestward to northwestward at a much faster forward speed over the southwest Atlantic during the next few days".
In southeast Virginia, Naval Station Norfolk told not to leave their vehicles at the sprawling base later this week because of the flood threat.
Classes were canceled starting on Monday at the Wilmington campus of the University of North Carolina.