Although Florence's path has wavered over the past week, forecasters now project that the storm could still pack a Category 4 or even 5 punch upon landfall, which will occur along the Southeast or Mid-Atlantic coast (most likely upon the Carolinas).
Feasting off the energy from unusually strong sea surface temperatures, Hurricane Florence is intensifying quickly and tracking inexorably toward landfall along the U.S. Southeast or Mid-Atlantic coast on Thursday.
"This is a real hurricane we have coming", he said.
Where is the hurricane now?
Lining up behind Florence, Isaac was about 1,150 miles (1,855 kilometers) east of the Windward Islands with top winds of 75 mph (120 kph) early Monday, moving west at 14 mph (22 kph).
Hurricane Florence strengthened "rapidly" on Monday, September 10, and is now a powerful Category 4 hurricane, USA forecasters said, as governors of 3 eastern U.S. states declared an emergency and told residents to prepare for the storm.
Officials say Florence is now a category four storm with 130mph (195km/h) winds and gaining strength.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) announced Hurricane Florence continued to strengthen Monday morning, with experts claiming the storm will likely impact Bermuda, the Bahamas, and the United States this week.
What else should I know?
"We are not going to gamble with the lives of the people of South Carolina", McMaster said. As a result, assets from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) were already arriving in the Palmetto State to "help coordinate federal resources should they be needed".
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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.
"Action today can avoid losses due to Florence".
It may bring catastrophic levels of rain and flooding to coastal and inland regions.
The map below, published by the NOAA, shows the most likely arrival time over the next few days.
Since reliable record-keeping began more than 150 years ago, North Carolina has only been hit by one Category 4 hurricane: Hazel, with 130 miles per hour winds in 1954. If the storm moves on a coastal track, it would require the commonwealth to enact a tiered evacuation plan, commonly known as "Know Your Zone".
"I need my stuff for [my] grandbabies - baby food and snacks", she said.
Florence is now predicted to bring "life-threatening impacts" to the USA late this week. Of the two other storms, which remain far from land, Isaac poses the most immediate risk.
Still closer to Africa than North America, Hurricane Helene is predicted to head northeast in the Atlantic, then veer toward Europe, the center said.
"Everyone in North Carolina needs to keep a close eye on Florence and take steps now to get ready for impacts later this week", Cooper said.
The National Weather Service has also forecasted heavy swells from Surf City north along the coast.