Hurricane warnings were issued Tuesday afternoon as ferocious Hurricane Florence marched relentlessly toward the U.S. East Coast, a massive storm threatening record rains and historic flooding as more than 1 million people flee the anticipated devastation. . .
As of 5 p.m. ET Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center issued hurricane warnings for portions of the South and North Carolina coasts as the 140-mph Category 4 storm crawled closer to shore.
The first rain bands could reach the Carolinas and Virginia on Wednesday, forecasters said. Hurricane-force winds could reach the mainland by Thursday evening. North Carolina was the most likely target for landfall, but states of emergency were also declared in South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.
At 140 mph, Florence is now a Category 4 storm out of a possible Category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale. The hurricane center warned that the storm would strengthen and be an “extremely dangerous, major hurricane” through Thursday. . .
The storm was about 785 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, heading west-northwest at 17 mph. Florence was forecast to roll across the southwestern Atlantic between Bermuda and the Bahamas through Wednesday before approaching the coast of North Carolina or South Carolina on Thursday or Friday. (Read more from “1 Million Flee Hurricane Florence” HERE)