Hurricane warnings have been issued by the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) for portions of SC and North Carolina due to Hurricane Florence, according to the agency's 5 p.m. update on September 11.
The storm strengthened from 130 miles per hour to 140 miles per hour and is Category 4, the NHC said.
Forecasters with The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang are now saying Florence is a Category 4 storm that could bring very unsafe winds, flash flooding and power outages.
"The latest warnings from the National Hurricane Center predict totals of up to 40 inches in isolated areas, far above the 27.84" that fell in Georgia during Hurricane Alberto in 1994 (the current East Coast record), or the 10.28 inches that fell in SC during Hugo. It's gaining strength and could even be upgraded to Category 5 before it makes landfall early Friday, according to forecasts.
MacDougall is located in Berkeley County, one of five counties under a mandatory evacuation from the governor.
"We are already experiencing heavily impacted traffic on some of the evacuation routes", said Jeff Byard, the associate administrator for response and recovery at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). "You're going to be displaced from your home in coastal areas".
Florence catapulted from a Category 2 to a Category 4 hurricane over the span of several hours.
Hurricane warnings have been issued by the U.S. National Hurricane Center for portions of SC and North Carolina due to Hurricane Florence, according to the agency's 5 p.m. update on September 11, 2018.
The Category 3 storm has prompted more than a million people to flee the Carolinas and Virgina, as residents heed dire warnings from officials.
The forecasters also expect that there will be a 90 percent chance of tropical storm force winds for parts of the storm.
Once the storm makes landfall, the threats are far from over.
Florence is now churning through the Atlantic, only a few hundred miles off the coast of Wilmington, N.C.
Kathleen O'Neal, a resident of Ocracoke Island in North Carolina's Barrier Islands, said she, her husband and son would ride out the storm.
NHC Director Ken Graham warned that rivers up to 60km inland may flood.
Michael Kennedy, an engineer at Boeing, said he planned to leave on Tuesday for his parents' home in Atlanta, Georgia. Shelters in the city were filling and some people were being bused inland to Raleigh, even though some residents there were told they might have to evacuate because of flooding. "It is an extremely, dangerous, life-threatening, historic hurricane", said North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, according to The Associated Press. But one thing it might actually help is to reduce the overall wind speed, though we're still going to have gusty winds around here which combined with that wet soil could bring down some trees.
Hurricane Florence is now a massive Category 4 hurricane. As it turns into southern SC.