Powerful Florence still churning toward NC coast

NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC AGENCY           The forecast track for Hurricane Olivia as of 5 a.m. today

It expects to issue hurricane watches for parts of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic coast Tuesday morning. Shortly before 2 p.m., Alert Carolina released a statement noting that until further notice, classes and operations would run as scheduled at the University. Read on to see maps and trackers of Hurricane Florence's path, along with the storm's projected path for the coming days.

Mandatory coastal evacuations were in effect for civilians in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, but the military base posted on Facebook that different chains-of-command would decide whether to release non-essential personnel, and some relatives vented fears that they wouldn't be able to evacuate in time.

More than 1.5 million people were ordered to evacuate their homes along the USA southeast coast as Hurricane Florence, the most powerful to menace the Carolinas in almost three decades, barreled closer on Tuesday.

The National Hurricane Center said Monday the monster storm will be close to Category 5 strength by Tuesday.

"We here in North Carolina are bracing for a hard hit", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said Monday.

The storm "is too powerful and its path is too uncertain to take any chances", South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said in issuing his state's emergency declaration.

Florence, the most intense of the three has reached Category 4 status and will likely continue to strengthen as it moves over the warm waters heading for landfall on the East Coast later this week.

Millions of Americans are bracing for Hurricane Florence as the Category 4 storm barrels toward the East Coast.

Helene - now just southeast of the Cabo Verde islands off the African coast - had winds of 85 miles per hour, and was expected to turn northwest and then north into the open Atlantic by midweek, the NHC said.

The hurricane could remain powerful as it passes over the United States mainland, the NHC warned on Monday morning.

Motorists streamed inland on highways converted to one-way routes Tuesday as more than 1 million people in three states were ordered to get out of the way of Hurricane Florence, a hair-raising storm taking dead aim at the Carolinas with 130 miles per hour winds and potentially ruinous rains. She said it was built in 2009 in Buxton, North Carolina, up on a ridge, and made to withstand a hurricane. Behind Isaac, Hurricane Helene is picking up strength, with twist paces of more than 105 miles per hour as of Monday afternoon.

WILMINGTON - Hurricane Florence is now a Category 4 hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center. Forecasters also warned of a rising threat of life-threatening storm surge, along with the damaging winds.

"People are getting frantic", assistant manager Nadine Schrock said, adding her shop also sold out of cases of bottled water.

Helene, meanwhile, was still in the Atlantic's spawning ground for hurricanes off the coast of Africa, swirling with 105 mph winds and forecast to become a major hurricane, about 375 miles west of the Cape Verde islands. Maximum sustained winds for Isaac are near 70 miles per hour.

The office of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam predicted "catastrophic inland flooding, high winds and possible widespread power outages".

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