The center of Florence was forecast to sweep between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday before making its assault on the USA coast.
Hurricane Florence rapidly formed into a powerful Category 4 storm Monday as it churned towards the U.S. East Coast.
The center of the hurricane is forecast to move across the Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas tomorrow and Wednesday (Sept. 11-12), before approaching the southeastern coast of the USA on Thursday.
He noted: "As a result, people from southeastern Virginia to southern New Jersey could have damaging winds and significant coastal flooding, even if Florence hovers or moves ashore in North Carolina".
The center of the strong storm is about 1,240 miles east-southeast of Bald Head Island, with the hurricane moving westward at roughly 13 mph. Florence "is expected to remain an extremely risky major hurricane through Thursday", the NHC said in a statement. The center warns that such storms will snap or uproot most trees and down power poles and that power can be out in some areas for weeks or months.
"North Carolina faces three threats here".
North Carolina residents boarded up their homes and piled cars with valuables on Monday after officials in that state and two others warned coastal areas would be hit from Hurricane Florence, the most powerful storm to take aim at the U.S. mainland this year. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles.
A third Atlantic storm, Hurricane Helene, is not expected to impact any land in the coming days as it moves north over open water. Such swells can lead to unsafe surf and rip currents, the NHC warned.
Sustained winds have reached nearly 105 miles per hour. "But we are not going to gamble with the lives of the people of SC". It makes landfall sometime late Thursday night into Friday morning.
Cooper and his counterparts in South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland all declared states of emergency.
"With this order government agencies will begin to mobilize in anticipation of a hurricane", McMaster said.
It says that the winds are likely to hit North and SC around Thursday morning, and Pennsylvania by the evening. "If slows after landfall may cause heavier rain & winds".
In addition to flooding the coast with wind-driven storm surges of seawater as high as 12 feet (3.7 m), Florence could drop 20 inches to as much as 30 inches (51 cm to 76 cm) of rain in places, forecasters said.
The U.S. Navy said it was sending almost 30 ships from coastal Virginia out of port to ride out the storm.