Hurricane Florence may become only the fourth Category 4 hurricane to make landfall along the US East Coast north of the state of Georgia, with the others being Hugo (1989), Gracie (1959), and Hazel (1954), according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's historic database.
The National Hurricane Center downgraded Isaac to a tropical storm overnight but said Tuesday that it could be "at or near hurricane levels" on Thursday, when it approaches the Lesser Antilles Islands.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper's office said Florence is already being felt along the state's coast, with large sea swells resulting in life-threatening rip currents and surf.
Some strengthening is expected during the next 36 hours, and Florence is expected to be an extremely unsafe major hurricane through Thursday.
"We do not want to risk one SC life in this hurricane", Governor Henry McMaster said at a news conference. Pretend, assume, presume that a major hurricane is going to hit SC.
The National Hurricane Center expects Florence to pass between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then approach the US states of North Carolina and SC by late Thursday into Friday.
Forecasters also warned that it could unload one or two feet of rain in some places, causing devastating inland flooding, the Associated Press reported.
By 11 p.m. Sunday, Florence was moving across the Atlantic Ocean at about 7 miles per hour, and it was almost a Category 2 hurricane, with peak winds of 90 miles per hour. The National Hurricane Center will likely start to issue warnings for Florence Tuesday.
The animation above, consisting of high-resolution images captured every minute by the GOES-16 weather satellite, shows Florence as it strengthened yesterday from a tropical storm into a Category 1 hurricane.
Dare County officials ordered everyone to leave Hatteras Island on Monday.
"If it decides to come here, we're gone", he said.
Florence was expected to build into potentially catastrophic Category 5 hurricane today as it closed in on North and SC. SC ordered an estimated 1 million people to evacuate its coast.
"Right now it's 625 miles South of Bermuda, with 105 mph winds".
As of Monday evening, Hurricane Florence was moving west-northwest at 13 miles per hour.
The hurricane center's description of a Category 4 hurricane begins with "catastrophic damage will occur". Tropical storm force winds could be felt in Charlotte from this system.