"‘Life-threatening’ Florence spawns first hurricane watches, could bring 30" of rain

Olivia most likely arrival time of tropical storm force winds. PC  NOAA  CPHC

One year after major storms ravaged the Gulf Coast and Puerto Rico, officials warned those in Florence's path not to underestimate the threat the storm poses.

"Further strengthening is anticipated, and Florence is expected to be an extremely risky major hurricane through Thursday", NHC officials warned in another advisory.

The hurricane is generating swells that are already affecting Bermuda and the U.S. East Coast.

North Carolina governor Roy Cooper asked President Donald Trump for an early Disaster Declaration on Monday to prepare for anticipated damage in the state.

The NWS is predicting "life-threatening" storm surge and inland freshwater flooding, with some models predicting upwards of 2ft of rainfall.

Hurricane Florence is carrying winds of up to 140 miles per hour as a Category 4 storm.

Some strengthening is expected during the next 36 hours, and Florence is expected to be an extremely risky major hurricane through Thursday.

By 8 a.m. Tuesday, Florence was centred about 950 miles (1,530 kilometres) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, and moving west-northwest at 15 mph (24 kph).

Florence is now being measured as a Category Four storm, this means there are sustained winds of about 140mph. It is expected to strengthen and possibly become a Category 5 storm Tuesday before closing in on North or SC on Thursday.

Henry McMaster (R) on Monday ordered a mandatory evacuation of the state's coastline ahead of Hurricane Florence's expected arrival on Thursday.

Brief tornadoes could spin up as the storm moves inland especially near and the right of path of the storm's eye.

Hurricane Florence is expected to bring potentially catastrophic winds, flooding and storm surge.

Below are some of the photos that Arnold (who recently helped track down a hole in the ISS) took of hurricanes Florence and Isaac from his lofty perch. The storm is expected to speed up and strengthen as it makes its way westward, then some weakening is forecast.

Business owners prepare for Hurricane Florence in Wrightsville Beach, N.C.

North Carolina has ordered the evacuation of more than 50,000 people.

Florence's max sustained winds have been clocked at 130 miles per hour with an further increase expected on Monday.

"Additional strengthening is forecast during this time, but some fluctuations in intensity are likely due to eyewall replacement cycles".

The NHC also says the storm could become more powerful.

"Florence is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 15 to 20 inches with isolated maxima to 30 inches near Florence's track over portions of North Carolina, Virginia, and northern SC through Saturday", says the National Hurricane Center.

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