Hurricane Florence expected to make landfall on North Carolina on Thursday

Florence is expected to regain strength

This could lead to devastating flooding across parts of the Carolinas and Virginia. The forecast track shows Florence's forecast path approaching the southeast US coastline late next week.

Virginia joined North and SC in declaring a state of emergency ahead of the storm, which is expected to be a major hurricane.

Late Monday, President Donald Trump approved requests for emergency declarations in the Carolinas, which will provide federal assistance to both states.

Hurricane and storm surge watches were in effect from Edisto Beach, S.C., to the North Carolina-Virginia border and Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, including the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers. And Virginias governor ordered a mandatory evacuation for some residents of low-lying coastal areas. The state's emergency management agency said it is "preparing for the possibility of a large-scale disaster".

The state's Division of Marine Fisheries is also calling on fishermen to start preparing and should remove fishing gear from the water well before the storm arrives.

The tropics were slow to wake up this year, but they have certainly come to life in a big way in over the last week.

Classified as a Category 4 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane strength, Florence stood as the most severe storm to threaten the US mainland this year and the first of its magnitude to take aim at the Carolinas since 1989, when Hurricane Hugo barreled over Charleston, South Carolina. The storm is forecast to make landfall along the North Carolina coast sometime Thursday as a Category 3 or 4 storm. The storm's maximum sustained winds are 65 miles per hour (100 kph) and it is moving west at 14 miles per hour (22 kph).

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Hurricane Olivia had maximum sustained winds of 90 mph, and was approximately 1,370 miles east of Honolulu as of 11 p.m. local time.

In Jacksonville, North Carolina, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) from the coast, some residents picked up hurricane supplies during their normal weekend shopping, The Daily News reported. "That is a sign of a strengthening hurricane". Tropical Storm Helene was expected to reach the Cabo Verde islands on Saturday but is predicted to miss the mainland U.S.

Tropical Storm Helene formed late Friday night off the coast of Africa, one of three storms - two named - now in the Atlantic.

National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham warned that Florence was forecast to linger over the Carolinas once it reaches shore. Some areas further inland could also contend with damaging winds and flooding rain.

In Holden Beach, North Carolina, in the storm's path, longtime residents were busy securing their homes and possessions.

Maps of the storm's trajectory showed it likely to come ashore somewhere near the border of North Carolina and SC.

Odds have increased that this storm may have a hard time finding an escape route to the north as it draws closer to the East Coast, although a direct hit is not inevitable. "However, there is still very large uncertainty in model forecasts of Florence's track beyond day (five), making it too soon to determine the exact location, magnitude, and timing of these impacts", hurricane specialist Robbie Berg wrote in a forecast advisory.

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