NYC task force heading south to aid residents ahead of Hurricane Florence

Mandatory evacuations issued for Outer Banks ahead of Florence

Hurricane Florence Set To Hit US East Coast

In a 8 a.m. update, National Hurricane Center forecasters said sustained winds dropped slightly to 130 miles per hour but restrengthening is expected to begin later today, with the storm likely to make landfall along the North or SC coast by Thursday.

On Monday, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) team flew its four-propeller P-3 craft through the eye of Hurricane Florence, capturing stunning video of the Category 4 storm.

The storm is now 905 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, with landfall predicted between Charleston, South Carolina and Norfolk, Virginia.

Carrying winds of up to 220 km/h as a Category 4 storm, Hurricane Florence is expected to strengthen and become a Category 5 storm on Tuesday (Weds NZT). The forecast is for landfall to occur overnight Thursday into Friday morning.

A hurricane watch, which means hurricane conditions were possible, has been issued for most of the coastline of South Carolina and North Carolina, specifically, from Edisto Beach, South Carolina, to the North Carolina-Virginia border.

The exact track, overall size and forward speed of the storm will determine which locations along the coast receive the worst of Florence's damaging winds, heavy rain and storm surge flooding.

One trusted computer model, the European simulation, predicted more than 45 inches in parts of North Carolina. "It is an extremely unsafe, life-threatening, historic hurricane", Cooper said at a news conference outlining state preparations in advance of the storm.

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Not only do these readings enable scientists to better predict how a particular storm could behave - the data assembled from every mission also helps researchers to put together a clearer picture of hurricane formation and development, improving preparation for future storms, according to NOAA. "We are in a very deadly and important game of chess with Hurricane Florence".

Gas prices in SC have climbed by about 8 cents to $2.585 a gallon from a week earlier, according to motorists' advocacy group AAA.

Florence appears to have weakened slightly but is expected to restrengthen later on Tuesday, the NHC said.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said his state is "in the bullseye" and urged people to "get ready now". It was centred east-south-east of Cape Fear, North Carolina, and moving west.

Flooding from a prolonged, heavy rainfall could extend inland over the Carolinas and for hundreds of miles. US President Donald Trump signed declarations of emergency for both North Carolina and SC, freeing up federal money and resources for storm response.

"This one really scares me", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said.

North Carolina has multiple routes leading and no major population center along the coast to evacuate, so it doesn't need to take such drastic steps, Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon said.

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