The hurricane is poised to make landfall early Thursday somewhere around North and SC, and is likely to strengthen as it approaches.
Boarded up houses are seen ahead of Hurricane Florence's expected landfall, at Holden Beach, North Carolina, U.S., September 10, 2018. "North Carolina is taking Hurricane Florence seriously, and you should too".
Where is the hurricane now?
CNN senior meteorologist Dave Hennen said Sunday that computer models agree Florence is on track to make landfall in the Carolinas. Tropical storms generate winds between 39 and 73 miles per hour, just below hurricane force.
According to the U.S. National Hurricane Center, Florence rapidly strengthened into a "major" hurricane early Monday morning that will likely bring a "life-threatening" storm surge along portions of the East Coast.
While the hurricane center says Isaac is a very small hurricane, its intensity could fluctuate as it approaches the Caribbean - but it's still expected to be at or near hurricane strength by the time it reaches the Lesser Antilles.
Hurricane Florence is now at a Category 4.
What else should I know?
"Red, no-swimming flags are flying, and everyone must stay out of the water", Dare County Emergency Management Director Drew Pearson said.More news: Concept Video Envisions iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max
McMaster declared a state of emergency on Saturday, a day after North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) made a similar declaration for his state. Though an exact location wasn't known, landfall was generally predicted Monday to be just north of the Cape Fear region near Wilmington, about 100 miles south of the Havelock area.
"The bottom line is that there is increasing confidence that Florence will be a large and extremely unsafe hurricane, regardless of its exact intensity, " Blake said. He told The Chronicle Sunday that once Florence hits land, destructive winds and huge rainfall flooding may take hold of the area. So far, mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for residents and visitors in some coastal areas of the state, while other counties only issued them for those in low lying and "flood prone" areas.
As of 11 a.m. ET Monday, Florence's maximum sustained winds had increased to 115 miles per hour, with higher gusts, the hurricane center said.
Tropical storm winds are forecast to hit the region sometime Thursday morning, with landfall occurring late Thursday night.
A surge in the waters off the New England coast is expected to begin as soon as tomorrow, and could lead to some especially high tides and unsafe rip currents, Simpson says, but that's about it.
Jeff Orrock, chief meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Wakefield, said Virginia Beach can likely expect tropical storm force winds to arrive late Wednesday or early Thursday, with winds increasing throughout Thursday.
Two other storms were spinning in the Atlantic.
"The largest threat to life from hurricanes is not the high winds", it said.
He says coastal and low-lying areas are of particular concern, as well as parts of the state that already have received substantial rainfall over the last few days.
Red flag warnings are keeping swimmers off beaches, as residents sandbag their homes in the communities of Myrtle Beach in SC, and the Outer Banks in North Carolina.