Currently, Florence has winds of 140 miles per hour (220 kilometers/hour), making it a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, the National Hurricane Center reported.
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.
A hurricane watch was in effect for Edisto Beach, South Carolina, to Virginia's southern border, and the first hurricane-force winds arriving late Thursday. "It is likely some areas will flood that have never flooded before".
The weather system is now a category four storm carrying sustained winds of about 215km/h.
Arrival: Florence's landfall is expected late Thursday night or Friday morning. "You need to look at the cone", which he said now spans the distance from South Carolina's Edisto Beach to the border between North Carolina and Virginia - a distance of about 500 miles. Florence is maintaining its strength and Hurricane and Storm Surge Watches will likely be issued on Tuesday.
Category 4 hurricane winds are in the 130 to 156 mile range, according to the National Hurricane Center.
US President Donald Trump signed declarations of emergency on Tuesday for both North Carolina and SC, freeing up federal money and resources for storm response.
If Florence slows to a crawl just off the coast, it could bring torrential rain to the Appalachian mountains and as far away as West Virginia, causing flash floods, mudslides and other unsafe conditions.
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South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster ordered the evacuation to start at noon Tuesday as Hurricane Florence approaches.
Scientists have also warned that the waters of the Atlantic have been unusually warm, which could ramp up the storm's winds to make it close to Category 5 intensity.
With "monumental" rainfall totals of up to 40 inches possible, "the rain from Florence may break all-time state records for rainfall from a hurricane or tropical storm", Weather Underground meteorologist Jeff Masters said.
President Donald Trump declared states of emergency for North and SC, facilitating federal help.
Florence's forecast cone for the next 48 hours has narrowed, indicating high confidence in the forecast track.
Up to 15-25 inches is expected in many areas where Hurricane Florence hits. "We will need to see a higher sample of storms throughout the next 50 to 100 years to fully attribute the claim of climate change as the culprit for Florence's intensification".