Mandatory evacuation orders were in effect for much of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia as Category 3 Hurricane Florence bore down on the states. It's moving west at 16 miles per hour and should regain hurricane strength as it reaches the Lesser Antilles, the National Hurricane Center said in its latest advisory.
The National Weather Service says Hurricane Florence "will likely be the storm of a lifetime for portions of the Carolina coast".
Hurricane-force winds (74-95 mph) are now extending out up to 70 miles from the center of the storm, and tropical-storm-force winds are being felt as much as 175 miles around the storm. "This storm is extremely risky".
9/12/18 2 p.m.: Greater chance of tropical storm force wind speeds across Midlands with highest chances (60%-80%) in the eastern Midlands and Pee Dee region in SC.
The ocean is moving inland ahead of Florence as storm surge begins to flood the Carolinas coast, according to the NHC. Olivia should weaken through Tuesday but remain a strong tropical storm when it reaches the Hawaiian Islands.
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Florence gaining steam as it approaches the Carolinas
A storm with sustained winds of at least 111 miles per hour classifies as a Category 3 major hurricane, according to the NHC . The state's emergency management division has posted additional information on the evacuations and how to prepare.
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"As it tracks towards the United Kingdom it will degrade - it will become an ex-tropical storm".
Having so many systems moving across the Atlantic at once also complicates forecasting because they influence one another, Blake said.
A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere in the warning area within 36 hours, and a watch within 48 hours. While early on Wednesday the odds of it forming dropped, by afternoon forecasters had again increased the chance to 70 percent over two days.
On the current projected track the centre of this system is forecast to pass between 100 and 150 miles (160 to 240 km) north of Barbados early on Thursday morning.
President Donald Trump declared states of emergency for North and SC and Virginia, opening the way for federal aid.