Hurricane Florence continues to strengthen

State of emergency declared in 2 more states as Florence nears hurricane strength

Computer-model forecasts generally project the storm to make landfall between northern SC and North Carolina's Outer Banks as a Category 4 on Thursday, although shifts in the track are possible and storm impacts will expand great distances beyond where landfall occurs.

On the forecast track, the center of Florence will travel between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday before approaching the southeastern USA coast on Thursday.

A tropical storm watch was issued in the latest update across much of Hawaii, including Oahu, Maui, Hawaii counties.

Live 5 News Chief Meteorologist Bill Walsh stresses the forecast is fluid this many days out, and any shift in the forecast tracks could bring severe weather to SC.

Forecasters said it is too early to know the exact path Florence will take but warned that it could roll ashore in the Carolinas by Thursday.

The governors of Virginia, Maryland, and North and SC have declared states of emergency ahead of the storm.

A significant component in the Monday evening update was a northerly turn. On the current track, Olivia may be near the Hawaiian Islands by late Tuesday.

"None of the guidance suggest that Florence has peaked in intensity, and this is supported by a continuation of a low-shear environment, and even warmer waters over he next 36 hours".

If a major hurricane (Category 3 or higher) does make landfall along the southeast coast, the rarity of such an event is relevant. "This storm gets stronger and stronger" and is on its way to a head-on impact on the Carolinas, CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said. "You can have quite a bit of a storm". As a major storm, the hurricane is expected to produce life-threatening conditions.

Some portions of the Carolinas could see as much as 30 to 40 inches of rain from Florence, the National Weather Service said, which would lead to river flooding that "could last for days or weeks" after the storm.

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Gov. Henry McMaster has ordered mandatory evacuations for coastal SC counties starting at noon on Tuesday ahead of Hurricane Florence's projected landfall.

Hurricane Florence is expected to move toward the U.S. East Coast this upcoming week with the potential of life-threatening flooding and gusty winds.

It was centered about 1,240 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear and moving west at 13 mph.

Florence is moving toward the west-northwest near 13 miles per hour.

The storm is forecast to move generally in a westward direction over the coming days, with an increase in forward speed during the early part of the week.

Forecasters say Tropical Storm Florence has turned into a hurricane and is swirling toward the East Coast for what could be a direct hit toward the end of the week.

The hurricane center said, "All indications are that Florence will be an extremely risky Category 4 hurricane while it moves over the western Atlantic toward the southeastern United States".

At 5 p.m., the center of Hurricane Isaac was located near latitude 14.4 North, longitude 45.0 West.

Duke Energy spokesman Jeff Brooks said the company is moving crews from Florida and the Midwest to staging areas near the storm path in the Carolinas. Maximum sustained winds are near 75 miles per hour with higher gusts. Certain areas of Brunswick, Currituck, Dare, Hyde, New Hanover, and Onslow counties are affected, and more orders are expected Tuesday. Weakening is forecast to begin by the middle of the week as Isaac approaches the Lesser Antilles.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 10 miles (20kilometers) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles (75 kilometers). Forecasters warn that the predicted track is likely to change - but for now, it shows the strong hurricane bearing down on the North Carolina coast, with a potential landfall north of Wilmington. The system is moving west-northwest at 5 miles per hour.

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