Now is the time to prepare for Hurricane Florence

Florence is now a hurricane, McMaster advises prep for

Florence intensifies; landfall across North Carolina becomes more likely

The storm had maximum sustained winds of 105 miles per hour and was moving west-northwest at about 9 miles per hour, the hurricane center said.

"Florence is forecast to rapidly strengthen to a major hurricane by Monday, and is expected to remain an extremely unsafe major hurricane through Thursday", the NHC said in an advisory issued at 9:00 pm (local time) Sunday.

Florence crossed the 74 miles per hour threshold from a tropical storm to a hurricane on Sunday morning and by 11 p.m. that night had sustained a maximum of 90 miles per hour winds. Large swells could be generated and cause damage in some parts of the state, which survived brushes with hurricanes Hector and Lane in recent weeks.

Some strengthening is expected during the next 36 hours, and Florence is expected to be an extremely unsafe major hurricane through Thursday. "Pretend, assume, presume that a major hurricane is going to hit right smack dab in the middle of SC and is going to go way inshore".

Meteorologists are forecasting that Florence will continue to pick up speed before making its landfall between SC and North Carolina on Thursday as a category 3 or higher hurricane.

Track Hurricane Florence as it heads for the East Coast
Watches in effect Tuesday forecast a storm surge of up to 12 feet at high tide from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout in North Carolina . Other impacts, like potential rain, depend upon what Florence does after it makes landfall, the meteorologist said .

"Interests in the southeastern and mid-Atlantic states should monitor the progress of Florence".

A Category 4 storm is also characterized as a major hurricane. "The last Atlantic hurricane to intensify as rapidly as far north as Florence's current location is Hurricane Humberto (2007)".

Panovich said one thing to worry about is the storm slowing down as it approaches the Carolina's.

So far, mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for residents and visitors in some coastal areas of the state, while other counties only issued them for those in low lying and "flood prone" areas.

"This storm is going to be a direct hit on our coast", said Jeff Byard, associate administrator for response and recovery at the Federal Emergency Management Agency. "Be prepared. Be ready", said Gov. Henry McMaster. "But we are not going to gamble with the lives of the people of SC". She grew up on the shore, and says this will be only the second time she's evacuated. Virginia's price gouging law allows for a civil penalty of up to $2,500 per violation (or up to $5,000 if in violation of an injunction), and North Carolina allows for a civil penalty of up to $5,000 per violation.

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Sustained winds have reached nearly 105 miles per hour.

As meteorologist Stu Ostro of The Weather Channel reports via Twitter, since 1851, only four Category 4 hurricanes have made landfall north of Florida on the East Coast.

In the western Carolinas and Georgia, the National Weather Service says rain and wind from the system will impact the area as early as Thursday and continue through the weekend.

Now is the time for employers in the path of the storm to start preparations and work with employees to make sure everyone stays safe.

Hurricane Florence has the potential to bring catastrophic flooding to areas of the eastern United States already soaked by heavy rain and may be the strongest storm to hit the region in decades.

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