The storm was located roughly 1,170 miles east-southeast of the Cape Fear region, and remained a risky Category 4 storm. While the storm is expected to batter spanning the Southeast to the Mid-Atlantic region, it will likely have little to no impact on MA, forecasters say.
The National Hurricane Center warns that Florence could soon cause a coastal surge that includes flooding before the storm is projected for USA landfall (probably) on Thursday.
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.
Meanwhile, forecasters urged residents to complete such storm preparations by the end of Wednesday, saying some impacts from Florence were nearly a certainty by Thursday.
On its current track, Florence is expected to slam the Carolinas and Virginia the hardest - and the three states issued emergency declarations to speed preparations. The hurricane is registering maximum sustained winds near 130 miles per hour. A turn toward the northwest is forecast to occur on the night of September 12, the NHC said.
Hurricane Florence strengthened "rapidly" on Monday, September 10, and is now a powerful Category 4 hurricane, USA forecasters said, as governors of 3 eastern U.S. states declared an emergency and told residents to prepare for the storm. Forecasters say because of the size the storm is expected to attain, it will wreak havoc regardless of how strong its winds are.
For many people, the challenge could be finding a safe refuge: If Florence slows to a crawl just off the coast, it could bring torrential rains to the Appalachian mountains and as far away as West Virginia, causing flash floods, mudslides and other risky conditions. Landfall may be Thurs.
The latest GFS model shows Florence staying just offshore, bringing massive amounts of rain and heavy winds to the coast.
Hurricane Florence rapidly formed into a powerful Category 4 storm Monday as it churned towards the U.S. East Coast. The hurricane is likely to bring risky surf and rip currents along the east coast. There is a very real possibility that Florence becomes a rare and unsafe Category 5 storm over the next 36 hours!
Two other storms were spinning in the Atlantic.
McMaster previously declared a state of emergency in anticipation of Florence's arrival. Even in areas far from the coast, he added, parts of North Carolina and Virginia could see rain totals of 10-15 inches over the next seven days. While the governor noted there is still some uncertainty about the track of the storm, he says Maryland officials are "preparing for the potential of historic, catastrophic and life-threatening flooding in Maryland".
Forecasters say Florence will pass between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday and start its approach to the USA on Thursday morning. "We are in a very deadly and important game of chess with Hurricane Florence".
"It's an extremely unsafe, life-threatening, historic hurricane. the forecast shows Florence stalling over North Carolina, bringing days and days of rain".
On Sunday, the hurricane center reported that Florence had reached sustained winds of at least 74 miles per hour to be classified a hurricane.
CNN's forecasters warn that Florence could be the strongest and most devastating hurricane to hit North and SC in about three decades.
It would be the first Category 3 or higher storm to hit the East Coast since Hurricane Jeanne struck Florida in 2004.