Will Hurricane Florence hit Charlotte later this week?

Florence becomes a hurricane as it barrels toward the U.S

- Both North and SC are under states of emergency as Hurricane Florence looks to strike the Carolina coast.

Virginia, and North and SC have declared states of emergency and authorities as far north as New Jersey are warning people along the coast to take precautions, including for the possibility of flooding rains far inland.

With sustained winds howling at almost 130 miles per hour, Florence was upgraded by the National Hurricane Center in a noon update, as the tempest churned about 600 miles southeast of Bermuda.

It is expected to become a major hurricane by Monday night.

A Category 5 storm has the potential to cause catastrophic damage.

Several meteorologists said Florence could do what Hurricane Harvey did past year over Texas, dumping days of rain, although not quite as bad.

Meteorologists are forecasting that Florence will continue to pick up speed before making its landfall between SC and North Carolina on Thursday as a category 3 or higher hurricane.

As of 5 p.m. ET Monday, the center of Florence was located about 1,170 miles from Cape Fear, North Carolina, and was moving to the west-northwest at 13 mph.

The governor said residents should prepare for ocean surge, strong winds, and inland flooding.

Cooper has already requested from President Donald Trump a federal disaster declaration to ensure North Carolina receives financial aid as soon as possible.

Florence had reached Category 3 strength earlier Monday, but data from hurricane hunter aircraft indicate the storm is quickly getting stronger as it moves over warm Atlantic waters. Tropical storm force winds could be felt in Charlotte from this system.

A third Atlantic storm, Hurricane Helene, is not expected to impact any land in the coming days as it moves north over open water.

"Make your plans now", South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster urged residents during a Sunday afternoon news conference.

The governors of North and SC and Virginia have already declared states of emergency, but winds and flooding caused by Florence could do serious damage even if it remains offshore.

Its maximum sustained winds were at 105 miles per hour.

Trump said in a Twitter message he has spoken to the governors of North and SC and Virginia, adding: "Federal government stands by, ready to assist".

"Rapid strengthening is forecast, and Florence is forecast to become a major hurricane this morning, and is expected to remain an extremely unsafe major hurricane through Thursday", it said.

The US Navy ordered ships at its major base in Hampton Roads, Virginia, to put to sea, saying "the forecasted destructive winds and tidal surge are too great to keep the ships in port".

"The largest threat to life from hurricanes is not the high winds", it said.

- The tropics are very active this Monday, as three hurricanes are present in the Atlantic.

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