Hurricane Florence threatens millions on US East Coast

The storm strengthened from 130 mph to 140 mph and is Category 4 the NHC said

A satellite image shows Hurricane Florence looming in the Atlantic Ocean as the sun rises over the U.S. Florence is expected to bring tropical storm conditions to North Carolina and SC on Thursday and hurricane conditions on Friday.

It may move a little north into Virginia or a little south into SC.

Although Ocean City is not expected to experience tropical storm force wind or heavy rainfall, property owners should still secure loose, lightweight objects including patio furniture and garbage cans.

Hurricane preparations should be rushed to completion as soon as possible. President Trump has declared an emergency in the three states and says the government is "as ready as anybody has ever been".

An estimated 10 million people live in areas expected to be placed under a hurricane or storm advisory, according to the U.S. Weather Prediction Center. Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storm's aftermath, it said.

North Carolina residents rushed to stack up on food, water, toilet paper and other necessities as "monster" Hurricane Florence is set to touchdown in the state early this weekend.

Computer simulations - especially the often star-performing European model - push the storm further south, even into SC and Georgia.

NASA Footage Shows Strengthening Hurricane Florence From Space
It's the latest advisory - albeit from a different perspective - that residents from Maryland to Georgia should be prepared for a unsafe storm.

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North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned residents that time was running out to seek safety from what he called a "once in a lifetime" storm. So we could have two landfalls - one around Wilmington and then one near Myrtle Beach or even south of there.

Henry McMaster lifted the mandatory evacuation for Hurricane Florence in Beaufort, Jasper and Colleton counties Wednesday, Beaufort County schools will remain closed Wednesday.

"An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft that was in the hurricane until just after midnight" recorded a peak wind gust of around 150 miles per hour, according to the hurricane center.

Sustained winds dropped to 110 miles per hour as the storm moved northwest at 17 miles per hour. SC has also canceled classes through at least Saturday due to the storm. The hurricane center also adjusted its projected track but stayed north of what most computer models were showing to prove some continuity with past forecasts. "Florence is expected to slow down considerably by late Thursday into Friday, and move slowly through early Saturday".

The hurricane centre said Florence will approach the coast Friday and linger for a while before rolling ashore. In South Carolina, Beaufort County Emergency Management Division Commander Neil Baxley told residents they need to prepare again for the worst just in case.

Here are five recent images featuring Hurricane Florence.

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