Hurricane Florence strengthens to a Category 3 storm

Hurricane Florence strengthens to a Category 3 storm

Hurricane Florence strengthens to a Category 3 storm

Hurricane Florence's top winds exploded to 130 miles (209 km) per hour, making it a Category 4 storm, just one-step short of the most severe level as it pushed westward toward the U.S. East Coast.

Forecasters say Florence will pass between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday and start its approach to the US on Thursday morning.

Horry and Georgetown counties shifted their operating conditions at noon Monday as Hurricane Florence continued to strengthen and head toward the Carolina coast.

"Rapid strengthening is forecast, and Florence is forecast to become a major hurricane this morning, and is expected to remain an extremely risky major hurricane through Thursday", it said.

"Florence is. expected to remain an extremely risky major hurricane through Thursday", the hurricane center warned.

"The track that Florence is taking is very atypical", Klotzbach said in an email. At around 12 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT), the National Hurricane Center (NHC) announced that Hurricane Florence had strengthened to a Category 4 storm.

State of Emergency has been declared by North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

Florence is now a major Category 4 hurricane with winds of 140 miles per hour.

Hurricanes Isaac, which could hit Caribbean islands, and Helene, much farther out to sea, lined up behind Florence as the 2018 Atlantic season reached its peak.

Mandatory evacuation orders were issued Monday for parts of North Carolina's Outer Banks, with wider orders expected to follow later this week.

A National Hurricane Center model showed the Wilmington region being socked with high winds and rain Thursday night and Friday morning.

It warned the storm would be "an extremely unsafe major hurricane" by the time it made landfall, forecast in the Carolinas on Thursday.

Hurricane Helene is in the far eastern Atlantic Ocean and not expected to be near any land.

A "major" hurricane is one with sustained winds of more than 110 miles per hour.

In Holden Beach, North Carolina, in the storm's path, longtime residents could be seen boarding up homes and securing possessions.

The International Space Station captured photos and video of massive Hurricane Florence spiraling over the Atlantic, and those images captivated people on social media.

Gov. Rick Scott released a statement on Monday urging Floridians to be prepared for the unexpected and remain on alert about Hurricane Florence.

There are three hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean.

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