NASA Releases Footage Of Hurricane Florence And Her 'Mike Tyson Punch'

Hurricane Florence is gaining strength as it moves west

Hurricane Florence is gaining strength as it moves west

There has been a dramatic change in the projected path of the first hurricane of the season expected to make landfall on the United States.

Forecasters with The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang are now saying Florence is a Category 4 storm that could bring very unsafe winds, flash flooding and power outages.

At 11:00 am (1600 GMT), the eye of the storm was about 485 miles (785 kms) southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, moving in a northwest direction at 15 mph (24 kph).

The NHC said Florence went ashore near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, at 7:15 a.m. EDT with estimated maximum winds of 90 miles per hour. The National Weather Center said Florence will likely be "the storm of a lifetime" for portions of the Carolina coast.

Florence is now heading for ocean water that has surface temperatures of about 85 degrees, meaning it will most likely strengthen on its way to the East Coast.

And it led to mixed signals from officials in SC, whose governor had canceled mandatory evacuation for several coastal counties.

Weekend sporting events have already been canceled, with possibly more to come. Even normal water is warm enough for a storm to form there, but this adds to the storm's fuel and its rainfall.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper predicted tens of thousands of homes and businesses would be flooded in his state.

A hurricane warning was issued for South Santee River, SC, north to Duck, NC, and the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.

Abigail Darlington, covers the city of Charleston for the South Carolina Post and Courier. The center of the storm will likely land between Brownsville and Rockport. The only exception was Edisto Beach - that and other areas to the north remain under evacuation orders. Many major roads and arteries have reversed traffic flow to help residents evacuate quickly.

Forecasts project the center of Florence to make landfall around the South and North Carolina border on Friday as a Category 3 or 4 hurricane.

A state of emergency has been declared in Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington amid concern over potential torrential rain and flooding. The entire coastlines of North and SC, in addition to some parts of southeastern Virginia, are under a mandatory evacuation plan.

The impact of storm surge on the coast will depend on whether the storm's arrival coincides with high tide. But rail cars with vehicles bound for Charleston and export markets overseas have been moved to secure areas until the storm passes. Tropical Storm Olivia is expected to move over Hawaii Wednesday or Thursday, KHNL reported. Those areas are expected to experience tropical storm conditions and rainfall amount of up to 8 inches, and Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands facing possible isolated amounts on 4 inches. At right is Hurricane Helene, and second from right is Tropical Storm Isaac.

Jeff Byard, FEMA associate administrator for the Office of Response and Recovery, called Florence "a very unsafe storm".

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