US airlines and cruises brace for Hurricane Florence

International Space Station by astronaut Ricky Arnold shows Hurricane Florence over the Atlantic Ocean in the early morning hours of September 6

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

Hurricane and Storm Surge Watches will be issued on Tuesday as the storm is expected to head toward the southeastern USA, potentially making landfall, still as a category 4 hurricane, Thursday afternoon or night.

With Florence being upgraded to a Category 4 storm by the National Hurricane Center, several more changes could be on the horizon.

CNN's forecasters warn that Florence could be the strongest and most devastating hurricane to hit North and SC in about three decades.

North and South Carolina are under a state of emergency, and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has ordered the coastline to evacuate.

"NOAA Hurricane Hunter plane investigating Florence found that its winds had increased to 130 miles per hour late Monday morning", said The Weather Channel. "We have already began mobilizing our assets to respond accordingly, and we are here for you!"

Maps of the storm's trajectory show it is most likely to make landfall between northern SC and North Carolina's Outer Banks on Thursday, making it the most powerful storm to strike the Carolinas in almost three decades.

Florence "is particularly big, particularly strong and. there's nothing stopping it", the SC governor Henry McMaster said at a news conference on Monday.

"I've been doing this since 1983", Roberts said as he completed an order for another 18-wheeler full of supplies.

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Hurricane Florence will make its way westward, likely toward the Carolinas later this week while Hurricane Isaac moves westward toward the Caribbean.

Now rated as a category 4 storm - the second most powerful on the national weather service's (NWS) classification system - Florence would be the first storm of that magnitude in recorded history to strike the eastern coastline so far north if it remains on its most likely track. A "Hurricane Hunter" aircraft recorded maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour.

Crystal Kirwan didn't see she had much choice as she got her family ready to leave their home Monday on the coast of North Carolina, with Category 4 Hurricane Florence threatening the state.

The storm could bring heavy rainfall and localized flooding to the Lesser Antilles, Accuweather reported, as well as tree and power line damage.

At this statistical height of the Atlantic hurricane season, Florence was being trailed on east-to-west paths by two hurricanes, Helene and Issac.

The category 4 hurricane is now moving to the west at 13 miles per hour and is expected to begin a turn to the northwest by late Wednesday.

The USGS studies the impacts of hurricanes and tropical storms to better understand potential impacts on coastal areas.

Gelhaus is one of the million people who are being ordered to evacuate South Carolina's coast by noon on Tuesday. Monday is the climatological peak date of hurricane season, the height of the eight-week period when the most powerful storms usually form, CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri said.

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