Tropical Depression Florence: Track the forecast with an interactive map, live blog

The latest on Hurricane Florence (all times local for the East Coast):

10:25 a.m. Sunday

Officials report 14 people have been killed by Florence, which is now a tropical depression.

11 p.m. Saturday

Tropical Storm Florence is crawling slowly across South Carolina as life-threatening storm surges and strong winds are expected to continue overnight, amid a rising inland flood threat.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami says the core of Florence was located at 11 p.m. Friday about 15 miles (20 kilometers) west-northwest of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Top sustained winds are now about 65 mph (100 kph) and the storm is moving to the west-southwest at 5 mph (7 kph) — a track that is expected to continue through early Saturday.

Forecasters say catastrophic freshwater flooding is expected over parts of North Carolina and South Carolina ahead.

As Florence moves further inland over the coming days, the storm is expected to gradually weaken. Forecasters say it could become a depression by Saturday night.

10 p.m. Saturday

One city in North Carolina has picked up more than 23 inches (58 centimeters) of rain in two days from Tropical Storm Florence.

The National Weather Service said on Twitter on Friday night that Morehead City had received 23.04 inches of rain with more heavy rain coming.

Forecasters have issued what they call a a flash flood emergency , saying areas of surrounding Carteret County are flooding that have never flooded before.

Forecasters say it is especially dangerous after dark because people trying to escape may not realize how deep flood water is on roads.

Officials recommend anyone whose home starts to flood get to the highest point they can and call 911.

About 500 people had to be rescued in flooding early Friday in New Bern, which is about 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Morehead City.

Forecasters say an additional 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters) of rain is possible through the night.

8 p.m. Saturday

The center of Tropical Storm Florence has moved into South Carolina, and both it and North Carolina continue to face powerful winds and catastrophic flooding.

Florence’s top sustained winds remain at 70 mph (110 kph) as it crawls west at just 3 mph (6 kph).

At 8 p.m. Friday, Florence was centered about 15 miles (25 kilometers) north-northeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and about 55 miles (90 kilometers) east-southeast of Florence, South Carolina.

Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 kilometers) from its center. The National Hurricane Center says a sustained wind of 55 mph (89 kph) and a gust to 68 mph (109 kph) were reported in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

8 p.m. Saturday

The sheriff of a North Carolina county hit by Florence says four men are charged with break-ins that happened after residents evacuated.

Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram tells news outlets the break-ins happened Thursday. He says two men are charged with possession of burglary tools and breaking and entering of a convenience store in Leland. Two other men are charged with breaking or entering of a motor vehicle.

Ingram says deputies will do everything they can to lock up people who “prey upon the citizens of Brunswick County.”

Ingram says officials made sure ahead of time to have “adequate (jail) space for anybody that wanted to try that.”

8 p.m. Saturday

President Donald Trump is assuring officials in North Carolina that the federal government is prepared to assist with any help they need as the result of widespread flooding and property damage caused by Florence.

Earlier Friday, the president called Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, Charlotte Mayor Vie Lyles, and Princeville Mayor Bobbie Jones.

The White House says Trump has been monitoring hurricane-turned-Tropical Storm Florence throughout the day and has received updates regarding the impact of the devastating storm.

7:30 p.m. Saturday

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says the state must be prepared for several additional days of rain, winds and ultimately more flooding before the damage caused by Florence finally ends.

Cooper said at a news conference Friday that as now-Tropical Storm Florence moves slowly westward this weekend, people living in south-central North Carolina will see flooding, some for the first time. Areas at risk include the cities of Fayetteville and Charlotte and the Sandhills region.

Closer to the coast, Cooper says he issued an order to allow sandbagging in and around Lumberton to lessen the effects of a rising Lumber River. Rains starting in the mountains also ultimately could produce mudslides.

More than 750,000 people are without power in the state, and Cooper says that number is expected to rise.

The governor announced another mega-shelter would be opening on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. That’s in addition to a large shelter already open at the Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem. More than 19,000 people were in over 150 shelters before dawn Friday.

7:15 p.m. Saturday

Dozens of people in the North Carolina town of Belhaven had to be rescued from the rising waters of Pungo River and a creek that together hem in the sea-level community.

The downtown area including the municipal building and nearby homes were swamped, starting with the high tide on Thursday evening. Roads into the town of about 1,500 people remained submerged Friday, forcing the retreat of a county ambulance truck and an electricity company repair vehicle that tried to enter from the east and west along the town’s main road.

Mayor Ricky Credle was holed up at the municipal building Friday afternoon. He says the town is “closed off” amid the highest water downtown that he had ever seen.

Credle says the sheriff’s department used a high-axle truck to rescue some residents who wanted to leave, dropping them off at Red Cross shelters.

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7 p.m. Saturday

Hikers are having to get off the Appalachian Trail as Tropical Storm Florence continues to dump heavy rains, causing floods and other dangerous conditions in areas the trail passes through.

The National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service have closed portions of the trail in North Carolina and Virginia because of the storms.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is urging hikers to get off the trail and seek shelter. The nonprofit said dangerous conditions could include falling trees, flash floods and mudslides.

The Appalachian Trail stretches more than 2,000 miles (3,220 kilometers) from Georgia to Maine and has more than 3 million visitors each year. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy says more than 3,000 people attempt to hike the entire trail each year.

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7 p.m. Saturday

More than three quarters of a million power outages have been reported in the Carolinas as Tropical Storm Florence slowly creeps across the two states.

Emails and website tallies from North Carolina utilities show more than 750,000 outages had been reported in North Carolina as of late Friday afternoon.

Poweroutage.us tracks outages across the country. The service says more than 107,000 outages were reported in South Carolina.

The storm’s top sustained winds have dropped to 70 mph (110 kph), and it’s at a near standstill, moving west at just 3 mph (6 kph).

At 5 p.m., Florence was centered about 50 miles (75 kilometers) west-southwest of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 25 miles (45 kilometers) northeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 kilometers) from its center. The National Hurricane Center says Florence is producing tropical storm-force wind gusts in Florence, South Carolina, about 60 miles from the coast.

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5:50 p.m. Saturday

Swift-water rescue teams are assisting residents of one historic North Carolina community swamped by Hurricane Florence.

New Bern spokeswoman Colleen Roberts told The Associated Press more than 360 people had been rescued by midafternoon Friday, but another 140 were still waiting for help.

She says crews from the city and the Federal Emergency Management Agency were working with citizen volunteers to get people to dry ground.

Roberts says there is widespread damage and power outages in the city but so far no reports of deaths or injuries.

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4:50 p.m. Saturday

Forecasters say Florence is now a tropical storm but will continue to threaten North and South Carolina with powerful winds and catastrophic freshwater flooding.

Its top sustained winds have dropped to 70 mph (110 kph), and it’s at a near standstill, moving west at just 3 mph (6 kph).

At 5 p.m., Florence was centered about 50 miles (75 kilometers) west-southwest of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 25 miles (45 kilometers) northeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 kilometers) from its center. The National Hurricane Center says Florence is producing tropical storm-force wind gusts in Florence, South Carolina, about 60 miles from the coast.

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4:25 p.m. Saturday

South Carolina’s most popular tourist destination is riding out Hurricane Florence without major problems so far.

In North Myrtle Beach, rain has been falling nearly all day and tree branches and limbs are on some roads. The power is out on the main strip, but almost no vehicles are on the six-lane highway through the center of town other than police.

North Myrtle Beach spokesman Pat Dowling says three-quarters of the area’s 37,000 electric customers are without power.

To the south, Myrtle Beach was faring better. Power outages were spotty, and Myrtle Beach spokesman Mark Kruea says no significant property damage has been reported.

No areas in South Carolina reported problems with surge from the ocean as winds continued from the land pushing water away.

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4:05 p.m. Saturday

President Donald Trump is preparing to travel to areas affected by Hurricane Florence next week.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says Trump will travel to the region “early to middle of next week.”

She adds his trip will take place “once it is determined his travel will not disrupt any rescue or recovery efforts.”

Aides say Trump has been monitoring the massive storm from the White House, and he has taken to Twitter to encourage those in its path to listen to their local authorities for how best to remain safe.

The storm, blamed for at least three fatalities, has inundated parts of the Carolina coast with heavy rain and high winds.

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3:05 p.m. Saturday

A mother and infant in North Carolina are dead after a tree fell on their home – the first two fatalities of Hurricane Florence.

The Wilmington Police Department said Friday that the two were killed when a tree fell on their house. The father was transported to a hospital for treatment. No other information was given.

The hurricane came ashore early Friday, pounding the state with torrential rain and high winds.

Forecasters have been predicting catastrophic flash flooding. The National Hurricane Center in Miami says more than 16 inches of rain have fallen at locations in southeast North Carolina and another 20 to 25 inches is on the way.

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2 p.m. Saturday

A weakening Hurricane Florence is almost at a standstill over southeastern North Carolina.

It just barely has Category 1 hurricane strength with top sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kph).

At 2 p.m., Florence was centered about 35 miles (55 kilometers) west-southwest of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 35 miles (55 kilometers) east-northeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It was crawling west at 5 mph (7 kph).

The National Hurricane Center said Florence was forecast to keep moving farther inland across the Carolinas through the weekend before turning toward the central Appalachian Mountains early next week.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 kilometers) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 170 miles (280 kilometers).

1:55 p.m. Saturday

A mandatory evacuation order has been put in place for anyone who lives within a mile of the banks of North Carolina’s Cape Fear River and Little River.

Officials from Cumberland County, Fayetteville and the town of Wade issued the order early Saturday afternoon, saying residents there face “imminent danger” from flood waters expected to arrive in the area soon.

Residents are being asked to leave immediately. Officials said flood waters from other areas are accumulating north of the county and filling the river basins beyond their capacities. They asked that the evacuation begin immediately and that everyone within the evacuation areas get out by 3 p.m. Sunday.

Seven emergency shelters are open in the county.

1:50 p.m. Saturday

Officials in South Carolina are reporting the state’s first fatality due to Florence, bringing the storm’s overall death toll to at least five.

A 61-year-old woman was killed late Friday when the vehicle she was driving struck a tree that had fallen across Highway 18 near the town of Union.

Capt. Kelley Hughes of the South Carolina Highway Patrol said the woman, who was wearing a seat belt, died at the scene. No passengers were in the vehicle at the time of the crash.

The tree was about 6 feet above the road surface. Hughes said the vehicle’s roof is what struck the tree.

Four weather-related deaths have been reported in North Carolina.

12:35 p.m. Saturday

Portions of eastern North Carolina’s two interstates are closed because of flooding caused by Tropical Storm Florence’s torrential rains and may not re-open before Monday.

The state Department of Transportation says a 16-mile (26-kilometer) stretch of Interstate 95 between its intersection with I-40 and near the town of Dunn is closed. Law enforcement has set up a detour.

Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon said Saturday that authorities were still assembling an alternate route for a 5-mile section of I-40 that is closed in both directions near the town of Warsaw, about 70 miles (115 kilometers) southeast of Raleigh.

The state DOT said on its website that the two roads are expected to re-open by Monday morning.

Trogdon says road conditions are expected to get worse in the immediate future, pointing out the number of closed primary roads in eastern counties had doubled compared to Friday. He urged motorists not to travel east of I-95 or south of U.S. Highway 70.

11:45 a.m. Saturday

The Navy says almost 30 Virginia-based ships and 128 aircraft sent away from their bases in the Hampton Roads-area because of now-Tropical Storm Florence have been given the go-ahead to return.

The Navy says the aircraft will make their way back beginning Saturday, and the ships will start to return Sunday.

A Navy statement says the decision comes after inspections of the region’s port and airfield.

11:30 a.m. Saturday

Evacuation orders have been lifted in several coastal South Carolina counties as Florence continues to dump rain on the state.

Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order lifting evacuation orders for Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester and the Edisto Beach area of Colleton County effective at noon Saturday.

McMaster had ordered residents in most of the state’s coastal counties to evacuate ahead of Florence’s arrival. The slow-moving storm is still dumping colossal amounts of rain on North Carolina and parts of northern South Carolina.

Evacuation orders remain in place for Horry and Georgetown counties along South Carolina’s northern coast.

11 a.m. Saturday

Tropical Storm Florence continues to weaken as it dumps dangerous amounts of rain across the Carolinas.

The National Hurricane Center said Florence’s top sustained winds have weakened to 45 mph (75 kph).

At 11 a.m. Saturday, Florence was moving west at 2 mph (4 kph), with its center located about 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

The storm’s extremely slow speed means the risk of catastrophic flooding remains high across both states. Some areas are forecast to receive up to 15 inches more rain, and storm totals could reach over 3 feet in some areas for the week.

National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham says areas like New Bern, North Carolina, could also see additional storm surge as high tide combines with the ocean waters still being pushed ashore by Florence’s outer bands.

9 a.m. Saturday

North Carolina’s Harnett County has declared a mandatory evacuation along a river that’s expected to rise to more than 17 feet above flood stage.

On its Facebook page, the county said the evacuation was in effect along the Lower Little River near the Cumberland County line.

The National Weather Service is forecasting the river to crest at Manchester at 35.4 feet at about 8 a.m. Monday. Flood stage is 18 feet.

The previous record crest was 29 feet set during Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

The river is forecast to reach flood stage sometime after 2 a.m. Sunday.

8:25 a.m. Saturday

The White House says President Donald Trump has issued a disaster declaration for North Carolina and that will make federal money available to people in the counties of Beaufort, Brunswick, Carteret, Craven, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico and Pender.

Government aid can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of Hurricane Florence.

Money also is available to the state, some local governments, and some private nonprofit groups on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work in those counties.

8 a.m. Saturday

Tropical Storm Florence is continuing to dump dangerous amounts of rain as it continues its slow slog across the Carolinas.

The National Hurricane Center said Florence is moving west at 2 mph (3.2 kph), with its center located about 35 miles (56 kilometers) west of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Maximum sustained winds remained at 50 mph (80 kph).

The region is being pounded with rain from the slow-moving storm, causing the risk of catastrophic flooding. Southern and central portions of North Carolina into far northeast

Parts of North and South Carolina can expect an additional 10 to 15 inches. Storm totals could reach between 30 and 40 inches in some areas.

At 8 a.m. EDT, the Miami-based hurricane center said rainfall will continue to produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding.

5 a.m. Saturday

Tropical Storm Florence keeps drenching the central Carolinas, with an additional 10 to 15 inches of rain expected before it finally swings north over the Appalachian Mountains and into the Ohio Valley on Monday.

The National Hurricane Center says top sustained winds have dropped to near 50 mph (80 kph) with higher gusts, and Florence is expected to become a tropical depression later Saturday.

At 5 a.m., the center was all but parked over South Carolina, about 35 miles (55 kilometers) west of Myrtle Beach, moving west-southwest at just 5 mph (8 kph) and scooping massive amounts of moisture from the sea.

1:30 a.m. Saturday

Tropical Storm Florence is practically stalled over the Carolinas and the monster storm could dump drenching rains of up to 3½ feet (1 meter). That, in turn, could trigger epic flooding well inland.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper calls Florence the “uninvited brute” that could wipe out entire communities. The storm is some 400 miles (645 kilometers) wide. Power outages are widespread including over 740,000 in North Carolina and 163,000 in South Carolina. Rescue crews have used boats to reach hundreds besieged by the rising waters.

Early Saturday morning Florence’s winds weakened to 65 mph (100 kph) as it moved forward at 5 mph (7 kph) and was about 15 miles (25 kilometers) west northwest of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

11 p.m. Friday

A severe inland flood threat is emerging as remnants of Florence pound the Carolinas with nearly nonstop rain for a second day since the once major hurricane howled ashore.

At least four people have died since Hurricane Florence crashed into the coast Friday and nearly stalled. Though forecasters later downgraded Florence to a tropical storm, the monster system is barely moving over the Carolinas and could dump drenching rains of up to 3½ feet (1 meter). That, in turn, could trigger epic flooding well inland.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper calls Florence the “uninvited brute” that could wipe out entire communities. The storm is some 400 miles (645 kilometers) wide. Power outages are widespread, and rescue crews have used boats to reach hundreds besieged by the rising waters.

5:50 p.m. Friday

Swift-water rescue teams are assisting residents of one historic North Carolina community swamped by Hurricane Florence.

New Bern spokeswoman Colleen Roberts told The Associated Press more than 360 people had been rescued by midafternoon Friday, but another 140 were still waiting for help.

She says crews from the city and the Federal Emergency Management Agency were working with citizen volunteers to get people to dry ground.

Roberts says there is widespread damage and power outages in the city but so far no reports of deaths or injuries.

4:50 p.m. Friday

Forecasters say Florence is now a tropical storm but will continue to threaten North and South Carolina with powerful winds and catastrophic freshwater flooding.

Its top sustained winds have dropped to 70 mph (110 kph), and it’s at a near standstill, moving west at just 3 mph (6 kph).

At 5 p.m., Florence was centered about 50 miles (75 kilometers) west-southwest of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 25 miles (45 kilometers) northeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 kilometers) from its center. The National Hurricane Center says Florence is producing tropical storm-force wind gusts in Florence, South Carolina, about 60 miles from the coast.

4:25 p.m. Friday

South Carolina’s most popular tourist destination is riding out Hurricane Florence without major problems so far.

In North Myrtle Beach, rain has been falling nearly all day and tree branches and limbs are on some roads. The power is out on the main strip, but almost no vehicles are on the six-lane highway through the center of town other than police.

North Myrtle Beach spokesman Pat Dowling says three-quarters of the area’s 37,000 electric customers are without power.

To the south, Myrtle Beach was faring better. Power outages were spotty, and Myrtle Beach spokesman Mark Kruea says no significant property damage has been reported.

No areas in South Carolina reported problems with surge from the ocean as winds continued from the land pushing water away.

4:05 p.m. Friday

President Donald Trump is preparing to travel to areas affected by Hurricane Florence next week.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says Trump will travel to the region “early to middle of next week.”

She adds his trip will take place “once it is determined his travel will not disrupt any rescue or recovery efforts.”

Aides say Trump has been monitoring the massive storm from the White House, and he has taken to Twitter to encourage those in its path to listen to their local authorities for how best to remain safe.

The storm, blamed for at least four fatalities, has inundated parts of the Carolina coast with heavy rain and high winds.

3:05 p.m. Friday

A mother and infant in North Carolina are dead after a tree fell on their home – the first two fatalities of Hurricane Florence.

The Wilmington Police Department said Friday that the two were killed when a tree fell on their house. The father was transported to a hospital for treatment. No other information was given.

The hurricane came ashore early Friday, pounding the state with torrential rain and high winds.

Forecasters have been predicting catastrophic flash flooding. The National Hurricane Center in Miami says more than 16 inches of rain have fallen at locations in southeast North Carolina and another 20 to 25 inches is on the way.

11:55 a.m. Friday

U.S. immigration officials say they won’t do any active enforcement during evacuations or in shelters during Hurricane Florence.

Homeland Security officials say Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers are focused on the preservation of life and safety.

The Trump administration has stepped up arrests of people living in the country illegally, but during this storm they say they won’t enforce immigration laws unless there’s a serious public safety threat.

Immigration officers have been dispatched to help with response and recovery as Florence lashes North and South Carolina with life-threatening winds, rain and floods.

But Jeff Byard of the Federal Emergency Management Agency says saving lives is the priority, and anyone fearing for their safety should call 911 for help.

11:45 a.m. Friday

North Carolina officials say parts of the state could experience a once-in-a-millennia flood as Hurricane Florence dumps rain for days to come.

Gov. Roy Cooper said Friday that Florence is “wreaking havoc” and he’s concerned “whole communities” could be wiped away.

He said parts of the state have seen storm surges as high as 10 feet.

Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon said the state is expecting 1,000-year “flood events” in areas between Wilmington and Charlotte.

Cooper said the state hasn’t seen any Florence-related fatalities so far, but he’s concerned about people’s safety as the storm continues.

11 a.m. Friday

Forecasters say the center of Hurricane Florence is hovering just inland near Cape Fear, North Carolina.

It remains a Category 1 hurricane with top sustained winds of 80 mph, but stronger wind gusts have been reported.

At 11 a.m., Florence was centered about 20 miles southwest of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 55 miles east-northeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

It was crawling west-southwest at 3 mph, lifting huge amounts of ocean moisture and dumping it far from the coast.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles.

10:40 a.m. Friday

Rising water forced a North Carolina TV station to evacuate its newsroom in the middle of Hurricane Florence coverage.

Hours before the storm made landfall Friday, workers at New Bern’s WCTI-TV NewsChannel 12 had to abandon their studio.

A spokesman for the ABC affliciate said roads around the building were flooding.

The weater service later measured a storm surge 10 feet deep in the city, which lies on the Neuse River near the Atlantic coast.

It’s about 90 miles northeast of Wrightsville Beach, where Florence made landfall at 7:15 a.m. Friday.

Video posted on Twitter showed a meteorologist telling viewers they’d be taken to coverage from sister station WPDE in Myrtle Beach.

Just after midnight, the station tweeted that everyone had safely evacuated.

10:15 a.m. Friday

Rivers are rising on the north side of Hurricane Florence as the storm swirls counter-clockwise, pushing a surge of ocean water far in from the coast.

Rainfall also is swelling waterways: Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com calculated that 34 million people in the U.S. are forecast to get at least 3 inches of rain from Hurricane Florence, with more than 5.7 million people probably getting at least a foot of rain.

In Washington, North Carolina, the wind-swept Pamlico River has risen beyond its banks and is flooding entire neighborhoods. Floodwaters submerged U.S. Highway 264, cutting off a major route to other flood-prone areas along the river and the adjacent Pamlico Sound.

Downtown New Bern, on the Neuse River also is flooded. The city tweeted early Friday that 150 people were awaiting rescue.

10 a.m. Friday

Federal officials are urging anyone who ignored orders to evacuate from Hurricane Florence to hunker down and stay put until the storm passes.

And they say people who are truly in an emergency should call 911, not just Tweet about it.

The disaster area was expected to get about as much rain in three days as the 1999 Dennis and Floyd storms dropped in two weeks.

About 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians have been deployed, with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats.

The Army Corps of Engineers were preparing to start work restoring power, installing temporary roofing and removing debris.

Charley English of the American Red Cross said anyone wondering how to help from afar can donate blood, registering first at their local Red Cross websites.

9:30 a.m. Friday

Wind speeds are kicking up far from the coast in central South Carolina as Hurricane Florence slowly makes its way along the coast.

The National Weather Service reported wind gusts of up to 21 mph on Friday morning in Columbia.

That’s about 220 miles from Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, where Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m. Friday, coming ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.

Wind gusts as high as 60 mph were recorded in the Myrtle Beach area.

9:10 a.m. Friday

Forecasters say the eye of Hurricane Florence is wobbling slowly southwestward just off the coast of southeastern North Carolina, near the border with South Carolina.

The hurricane’s top sustained winds have dropped to 85 mph, while it moves slowly toward South Carolina at 6 mph.

At 9 a.m. the center of the hurricane was about 55 miles east of Myrtle Beach.

9 a.m. Friday

Energy Secretary Rick Perry says the U.S. electricity sector has been well prepared for Hurricane Florence even as hundreds of thousands of homes lose power in the storm.

Speaking during a visit to Moscow less than an hour after the hurricane made landfall in North Carolina, Perry says “we’ve done this many times before. We know how to manage expectations. We know how to prepare our plants for these types of major events.”

Perry says his department has been in contact with power companies and gas pipeline operators.

He says that “over the years the state government and the federal government have become very coordinated in their ability to manage the pre-deployment of assets (and) the response to the citizens of those states, and we will soon be into the recovery.”

More than 415,000 homes and businesses were without power, mostly in North Carolina, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks the nation’s electrical grid.

8:15 a.m. Friday

Hurricane Florence is dumping rain on North Carolina and pushing a storm surge taller than most humans onto communities near the coast.

The center of the eye of the hurricane made landfall in Wrightsville, North Carolina, and was moving slowly westward just south of Wilmington.

Coastal and river communities on the north side of Florence are getting the worst of the flooding as the hurricane swirls onto land pushing a life-threatening storm surge.

More than 415,000 homes and businesses were without power Friday morning according to poweroutage.us, which tracks the nation’s electrical grid.

7:45 a.m. Friday

The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Florence has finally made landfall near Wrightsville, North Carolina.

The Miami-based center says the center of the eye moved ashore with top sustained winds of 90 mph, making Florence a Category 1 hurricane in terms of wind intensity.

7:15 a.m. Friday

Forecasters say the center of the eye of Hurricane Florence is about to make landfall near Wrightsville, North Carolina.

It remains a Category 1 hurricane with top sustained winds of 90 mph, but a gust of 112 mph was reported just offshore.

The barrier island of Emerald Isle is under water, with ocean waves rolling in over a six-foot storm surge and crashing into homes.

At 7 a.m., the center of the eye was located about 5 miles east of Wilmington, moving west at 6 mph.

7 a.m. Friday

It’s about the water, not the wind, with Hurricane Florence making an extended stay along the North Carolina coast.

Forecasters say “it cannot be emphasized enough that the most serious hazard associated with slow-moving Florence is extremely heavy rainfall, which will cause disastrous flooding that will be spreading inland.”

Top winds were holding at 90 mph — that’s just a Category 1 hurricane — but some communities were already submerged in more than six feet of water as the storm drenched the coast.

6 a.m. Friday

The National Hurricane Center says Florence is about to make landfall in North Carolina bringing with it life-threatening storm surges and hurricane force winds.

As of 6 a.m., Florence was 10 miles east of Wilmington, North Carolina. Its forward movement was 6 mph.

Hurricane-force winds extended 90 miles from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles.

The Miami-based center says Florence is bringing “catastrophic” fresh water flooding over a wide area of the Carolinas.

5:50 a.m. Friday

A North Carolina city says about 70 people have been rescued from a hotel whose structural integrity is being threatened by Hurricane Florence.

The city of Jacksonville’s statement says people have been moved to the city’s public safety center as officials work to find a more permanent shelter.

Officials found a basketball-sized hole in the hotel wall and other life-threatening damage, with some cinder blocks crumbling and parts of the roof collapsing.

None of the people rescued were injured.

5 a.m. Friday

The National Hurricane Center says Florence is about to make landfall in North Carolina bringing with it life-threatening storm surges and hurricane force winds.

As of 5 a.m., Florence was 25 miles east of Wilmington, North Carolina. Its forward movement was 6 mph.

Hurricane-force winds extended 90 miles from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles.

The Miami-based center had said earlier Friday Florence’s arrival would come with “catastrophic” fresh water flooding over portions of the Carolinas.

11 p.m. Thursday

Florence has been downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane with top sustained winds of 90 mph.

The National Hurricane Center says Florence is now lashing the North Carolina coast with hurricane -force winds and a life-threatening storm surge. It says the threat of freshwater flooding will increase in coming hours and days from the storm’s heavy rains.

The Miami-based center said in an update at 11 p.m. EDT Thursday that the storm’s eye was about 50 miles south of Morehead, City, North Carolina. The core is also about 60 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina.

The storm is moving to the northwest at 6 mph.

Forecasters say the center of Florence is expected to move inland between Friday and Saturday.

Far out in the Atlantic, Joyce strengthened into a tropical storm on Thursday evening with top sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph). The center says that storm is about 1,040 miles kilometers west-southwest of the Azores and no coastal watches or warnings are in effect.

Elsewhere, Tropical Storm Helene is forecast to pass near the Azores on Saturday, and Tropical Storm Isaac is moving west across the eastern Caribbean.

10:15 p.m. Thursday

A North Carolina TV news station has evacuated its building due to rising waters from Hurricane Florence.

New Bern’s WCTI-TV NewsChannel 12 posted on Facebook on Thursday night that employees had to abandon the studio for the “first time in history.”

A spokesperson for the ABC affiliate said that roads around the building were flooding.

New Bern is a city along the Neuse River and is near the Atlantic coast, about 90 miles northeast of Wilmington.

The station said on Facebook that it was broadcasting its sister station WPDE-TV’s coverage of the storm.

9:10 p.m. Thursday

Utility crews from as far away as California and Canada have been brought to North Carolina to respond to what could be millions of power outages following Hurricane Florence.

As the crews gathered near the State Capitol in Raleigh on Thursday, dozens of trucks clogged the parking lots and lined the streets. Cherry pickers jutted into the darkening sky, and rusty utility pole drills stood at the ready.

With Duke Energy expecting up to 3 million power outages for its 4 million customers, power companies will need an extra hand.

New Brunswick, Canada-based Holland Power Services says it sent 100 vehicles and more than 250 workers to help Duke’s restoration efforts. A mile-long convoy of repair trucks could be seen moving between staging points in Raleigh.

So far, utilities have reported 80,000 customers without power because of Florence.

4:25 p.m. Thursday

As Hurricane Florence begins to batter North Carolina, the state’s governor has asked President Donald Trump for another federal disaster declaration beyond what the president declared earlier this week.

Gov. Roy Cooper requested the added disaster declaration Thursday because he anticipates what his office calls “historic major damage” across the state from the hurricane.

Cooper’s office says the current emergency declaration is helping state officials prepare for the storm. It says the additional declaration would bring more federal help with debris removal, search and rescue teams, meals and generators, among other items.

Cooper is seeking the new declaration so that federal funds and other assistance can be received as soon as possible.

4 p.m. Thursday

The approach of Hurricane Florence has given one South Carolina beach community a sort of split personality — businesses closed and boarded up while surfers flock to the beach to take advantage of storm-churned waves.

Molly Reagan strolled in the sand Thursday on Sullivan’s Island after leaving her office job early. She said she was one of the only people who showed up for work. Many had heeded evacuation orders that included the island just east of Charleston.

The sky was cloudy and waves crashed along the beach. But Reagan said the weather remained calm and “the only thing crazy here is the amount of people out surfing.”

A hurricane watch was in effect for the Charleston area. Reagan said she’s not worried: “It’s looking like we may get tropical storm conditions. Maybe.”

3:15 p.m. Thursday

South Carolina officials say more than 400,000 people have evacuated the state’s coast and more than 4,000 people have taken refuge in shelters as Hurricane Florence approaches.

State Transportation Department Secretary Christy Hall said Thursday that an estimated 421,000 residents had left the coast.

Acting Department of Social Services Director Joan Meacham says shelters are about 12 percent full with the 4,000 residents. Meacham says the state can house more than 35,000 people if needed. She says 61 shelters have opened thus far, including 12 that are specially outfitted to help people with special medical needs.

Gov. Henry McMaster has ordered the evacuation of most of the state’s coastline as the storm approaches.

2:45 p.m. Thursday

Officials say Hurricane Florence could bring not only flooding but also landslides to South Carolina.

The National Weather Service is forecasting “significant” river flooding, especially in the northeastern portion of the state. That same area experienced dangerous flooding after Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

Gov. Henry McMaster told reporters Thursday that up to 7 inches (18 centimeters) of rain in the state’s northwestern mountains could mean landslides and dangerous conditions.

McMaster has ordered evacuations along much of the state’s coast. He warned residents to be prepared to be without electricity “for a long time” in the storm’s aftermath.

The outer bands of Hurricane Florence have begun to impact the coast of North Carolina.

2:45 p.m. Thursday

Two amphibious Navy ships are on standby to respond and provide disaster relief after Hurricane Florence moves through.

Navy Lt. Jamie Seibel said Thursday that the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge and the amphibious transport ship USS Arlington are the two ships that have been tapped to respond.

Seibel says about 800 Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit are aboard the two ships, which will move directly to where they are needed once the storm passes.

Seibel said the ships already have the resources and supplies they need, including a fleet surgical team, engineers and damage assessment personnel, as well as heavy- and medium-lift helicopters, search-and-rescue aircraft and smaller ship-to-shore landing craft.

2:45 p.m. Thursday

National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham says hurricane-force winds are starting to get really close to shore as Florence slowly nears the Carolinas.

Graham says it may not be until Monday or Tuesday before the system moves away from North Carolina and South Carolina. He says that in the storm’s wake will be a lot of rainfall, a lot of river flooding and “a lot of issues.”

Television footage Thursday afternoon showed water in a street at knee level due to storm surge in New Bern, North Carolina.

Graham says that because so much water is being pushed ashore by Florence, rivers and inlets that normally flow out to sea will be forced to flow in the opposite direction. Storm surge also could push several miles (kilometers) inland.

2 p.m. Thursday

Power outages already are creeping up along the North Carolina coast as tropical storm-force winds started sweeping over land.

Electric utilities and cooperatives reported about 12,000 outages statewide as of early Thursday afternoon, with nearly all of them at the coast. Most of the homes and businesses without electricity are in Carteret and Craven counties. Both are north of the eye’s projected path and expected to get massive amounts of rain— potentially 20 inches (50 centimeters) or more.

Duke Energy is the largest of the utilities in the Carolinas. The company predicts Carolinas power outages caused by Florence will range from 1 million to 3 million customers. It’s got more than 20,000 workers from the Carolinas and other states in place to restore power.

Duke reported few South Carolina outages Thursday afternoon.

1:15 p.m. Thursday

An emergency management official in one of the most populated areas of coastal North Carolina says winds from the storm have already arrived and other impacts won’t be far behind.

New Hanover County Emergency Management Director Steven Still said Thursday that residents who didn’t evacuate should expect 60 mph winds by 7 p.m. that would eventually increase to 100 mph or more.

Still says residents “can expect to have that wind to the tune of 100 mph-plus stay on us for considerable period of time.”

Still says landfall is expected around 8 a.m. Friday in the Wrightsville Beach area, and he said the area could see 20 to 30 inches of rain and beaches could get 9 to 10 to feet of storm surge.

Wrightsville Beach Mayor William Blair says evacuations are complete.

1:15 p.m. Thursday

The head of Duke Energy Corp.’s North Carolina operations says it could take weeks to restore electricity if the company’s prediction that 1 million to 3 million of its 4 million customers lose power because of Hurricane Florence.

Duke Energy executive David Fountain said that flooding from the slow-moving Florence must recede before crews can start sizing up needed repairs.

He says based on the experience with Hurricane Matthew two years ago, it could be days before assessments start and the major electricity provider in the Carolinas can estimate when power can be restored.

Fountain says outages in the worst-hit areas could last for weeks.

He says repair crews will go where they can do the most good and won’t prioritize Duke Energy customers over the electric cooperatives and municipal utilities that buy and resell power.

12:15 p.m. Thursday

A flight-tracking service says about 1,200 U.S. airline flights scheduled for Thursday or Friday have been canceled, with some airports in the Carolinas essentially shut down.

FlightAware said in its midday report Thursday that the number of canceled flights is relatively small and could increase.

However, the hurricane’s effect on the nationwide air-travel system will be less than feared if, as now forecast, Florence veers away from the American Airlines hub airport in Charlotte, North Carolina, and doesn’t score a direct hit on Delta Air Lines’ massive hub in Atlanta.

11:50 a.m. Thursday

A private weather-forecasting firm is estimating that Hurricane Florence will cause $50 billion to $60 billion in economic damages.

Accuweather founder and President Joel Myers said in a news release Thursday that much of that will stem from flooding, with coastal damage as the second-biggest factors. Winds come in third.

Florence’s winds had dropped from a peak of 140 mph to 105 mph by midmorning Thursday, reducing the hurricane from a Category 4 to a Category 2.

But forecasters warned that the storm is growing in size and moving slowly, which will bring seawater surging onto land and torrential downpours.

11:50 a.m. Thursday

One of South Carolina’s major power companies is warning customers to be wary of fallen power lines and other hazards that could come after Hurricane Florence’s arrival.

South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. CEO Keller Kissam gave updates to reporters Thursday in a news conference at the company’s headquarters in Cayce.

Kissam says the storm, which is expected to bring torrential rains and sustained winds, could mean that it takes linemen longer to repair any power problems, in part due to concerns for their own safety.

Kissam says SCE&G has been in touch with other power companies in the Southeast that are willing to help with any problems after the storm. Kissam says crews are already in South Carolina from other states, including Mississippi.

SCE&G has more than 700,000 power customers in South Carolina.

11:50 a.m. Thursday

The Virginia National Guard says 1,200 personnel are staged and ready to respond as Hurricane Florence approaches.

Guard officials said in a statement Thursday that soldiers, airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force are staged around the state to support local and state emergency management officials.

Potential missions include high water transportation, debris reduction, commodity distribution, shelter management assistance and search and rescue.

Gov. Ralph Northam authorized up to 6,000 personnel for response operations and officials say they have been alerted and are on standby.

Additional personnel will be on duty in Richmond and Fort Pickett to provide mission command, logistics, administrative and public information support.

11:30 a.m. Thursday

All commercial flights have been canceled at the Myrtle Beach International Airport as Hurricane Florence approaches the South Carolina coast.

Airport spokesman Kirk Lovell said in an email that one flight left early Thursday morning and all other flights have been canceled for Thursday and Friday.

He said 84 flights with 12,248 seats were on the schedule for Thursday, with 80 flights with 11,416 seats scheduled for Friday.

Lovell said the airlines will decide when to resume service after Florence makes landfall. Myrtle Beach is served by 10 airlines.

11:30 a.m. Thursday

Hurricane Florence is still the most dangerous of the four tropical storms in the Atlantic.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center say Tropical Storm Isaac was speeding into the eastern Caribbean Sea on Thursday after passing between Dominica and Martinique.

The poorly organized storm with 45 mph winds was not expected to strengthen.

Helene weakened to a tropical storm while moving north over the open Atlantic. Also over open waters, Subtropical Storm Joyce could transition into a tropical storm over the next couple days.

Forecasters also were watching a tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico.

11:30 a.m. Thursday

Gov. Roy Cooper is urging North Carolina residents not to ease up in their preparations for Hurricane Florence, despite southward changes in the storm’s forecast and a decrease in its top sustained wind speeds.

Cooper said at a news conference Thursday morning that he’s concerned because he’s heard some people say North Carolina is “getting a break.”

The governor says the state “cannot underestimate this storm.” Forecasters are warning that Florence will bring surging ocean water, high winds and days of torrential rain.

Cooper says there are currently about 108 shelters open in North Carolina with more than 7,000 people in them. He says emergency management officials plan to open even more.

Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry says an estimated 750 people have packed a megashelter set up at a coliseum in Winston-Salem. Sprayberry says a team is conducting surveys to find other locations for potential megashelters.

11 a.m. Thursday

Hurricane Florence is slowing down as its outer bands of wind and rain lash North Carolina’s barrier islands.

As of 11 a.m., the Category 2 storm was centered about 145 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 195 miles east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Its forward movement slowed to 10 mph and top sustained winds dropped slightly to 105 mph.

Still, National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham says there is nothing “minor” about this hurricane.

Water causes the most deaths during tropical storms and hurricanes, and Florence is expected to cause dangerous flooding.

Graham said areas that repeatedly get hit even with weaker winds at Florence’s edges could see heavy rainfall for hours.

Storm surge flooding also could push 2 miles or more inland if Florence lingers for days along the coast.

10:45 a.m. Thursday

Duke Energy Corp. is shutting down a coastal North Carolina nuclear power plant ahead of Hurricane Florence.

The electricity provider says it began powering down one reactor early Thursday and would start shutting the second reactor later in the day.

Florence was projected to reach land Friday near the plant located about five miles from the Atlantic Ocean near Southport.

The Brunswick plant’s two reactors share the same design as those in Fukushima, Japan, that exploded and leaked radiation after a 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Federal regulators later required all U.S. nuclear plants be reinforced against earthquakes and flooding.

Duke Energy did not provide information about specific changes made at Brunswick, other than to say emergency generators and pumps will remove stormwater if the plant floods.

10:10 a.m. Thursday

The long big slosh has begun.

Meteorologists say the leading edge of Florence has arrived in North Carolina, with tropical storm-force winds carrying drenching bands of rainfall onto some beach communities.

Florence will likely bring days of rain totaling three feet or more, and a storm surge of ocean water that rises to more than 12 feet near the center of the storm.

Gov. Roy Cooper says he knows many people are watching the changing storm predictions and categories, and he’s concerned because some are even saying that “North Carolina is getting a break.” It’s not.

“Please hear my message,” he says. “We cannot underestimate this storm.”

Cooper is saying: “Don’t relax; don’t get complacent. Stay on guard. This is a powerful storm that can kill.”

9:50 a.m. Thursday

Federal emergency officials at a Washington briefing are urging people to treat Hurricane Florence seriously even though its top sustained winds are down to 110 mph, which makes it a Category 2 storm.

They say it remains very large and very dangerous, bringing more than 30 inches of rain to the coast and heavy winds that will impact a giant swath of land.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long says storm surge warnings have not changed despite the weakening intensity on the wind scale.

He urged people in the coastal Carolinas and living near inland rivers to evacuate now.

“Please heed the warnings,” Brock says: “Your time is running out.”

9:40 a.m. Thursday

The police chief of a barrier island in the bull’s-eye of Hurricane Florence is warning any stragglers who refused to evacuate that they are making a dangerous choice.

At a news conference just across the bridge in Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach Police Chief Dan House said a handful of residents on the island have refused evacuation orders.

He’s telling them they “better go ahead and give me your next of kin” information because no one will rescue them at the height of the storm.

The police chief says he’s not going to put his people in harm’s way, especially for people they’ve already told to evacuate.

The latest forecast shows the eye of Florence could pass directly over the barrier island, pushing a huge surge of ocean water.

9 a.m. Thursday

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center warn that Florence remains deadly because of its size and slow forward speed, even if its top sustained winds have dropped it to Category 2 status as a hurricane.

Director Ken Graham says there is nothing “minor” about this hurricane. Water causes the most deaths during tropical storms and hurricanes, and Florence expected to cause dangerous flooding.

Graham said areas that repeatedly get hit even with weaker winds at Florence’s edges could see heavy rainfall for hours.

Storm surge flooding also could push 2 miles or more inland if Florence lingers for days along the coast.

Tornadoes also remain a threat, particularly in areas northeast of the hurricane’s eye.

Senior hurricane specialist Stacy Stewart warns that Florence being a slow hurricane could mean three to four hours of battering, beach-eroding winds for some areas.

8 a.m. Thursday

The outer bands of wind and rain from Hurricane Florence are moving onshore along North Carolina’s barrier islands as the massive storm bears down on the Southeastern coastline.

As of 8 a.m., the Category 2 storm was centered about 170 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 220 miles east-southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Its forward movement slowed to 12 mph and top sustained winds stayed at 110 mph.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami don’t expect it to strengthen from a Category 2 hurricane before it moves ashore, but they say the real problem will be water as Florence lingers along the coast through Saturday.

Florence’s hurricane-force winds were blowing 80 miles from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds reached up to 195 miles from the eye.

7:30 a.m. Thursday

The mayor of Myrtle Beach says her city has done as much as it can to prepare for Hurricane Florence.

Brenda Bethune told NBC’s “Today” show Thursday morning that public safety crews have been checking to make sure businesses are secure, and looking for anything that could become a projectile as the winds come ashore.

But the mayor says she knows many people are ignoring evacuation orders. She hopes they’ll stay inside once the winds, rain and floods arrive.

She says people often want to get outside and take pictures. Bad idea, she says because emergency crews won’t be able to reach them in the storm.

7:15 a.m. Thursday

The Coast Guard says port operations in Charleston, South Carolina, have been stopped as Hurricane Florence approaches the coast.

The Coast Guard said in a news release that the decision to stop port operations at 8 p.m. Wednesday comes because gale force winds of up to 54 mph were possible within 24 hours.

The Coast Guard said ocean-going vessels were told to prepare to leave. Those heading to Charleston were told to find another destination.

The Coast Guard warned pleasure boaters to find safe harbors and noted that drawbridges might not operate once winds reach 25 mph.

5 a.m. Thursday

The National Hurricane Center says the outer rain bands of Hurricane Florence are approaching the coast of North Carolina.

Early Thursday the Category 2 was about 205 miles east southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 250 miles east southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

The gradually slowing but still life-threatening storm is moving northwest at 15 mph. Little change in strength is expected before the center reaches the coast. Weakening is expected after the center moves inland.

The Miami-based center says the center of Florence will approach the coasts of North and South Carolina later Thursday.

It then will move near or over the coast of southern North Carolina and eastern South Carolina in the hurricane warning area later Thursday and Friday.

2 a.m. Thursday

Monster storm Hurricane Florence is barreling closer to the coast of the Carolinas.

Forecasters say wind speeds have dropped from a high of 140 mph to 110 mph, reducing it to a Category 2 storm.

But authorities warn Florence has an enormous wind field as it zeroes in on the Southeast U.S. coast, raising the risk of the ocean surging on to land and making Florence extremely dangerous.

Early Thursday Florence was about 235 miles east southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina and about 280 miles east southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The storm is moving northwest at 17 mph.

The National Hurricane Center’s says it expects Florence will blow ashore as early as Friday afternoon around the North Carolina-South Carolina line, then slog westward with a potential for catastrophic inland flooding.

11 p.m. Wednesday

Hurricane Florence has been downgraded to a Category 2 storm but it is still considered an extremely dangerous and life-threatening storm.

As of 11 p.m., the storm was centered 280 miles east southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and was moving northwest at 17 mph. Its maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly to 110 mph.

But the National Hurricane Center said Wednesday evening that the storm is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and rainfall to the Carolinas as it approaches the coast Thursday and Friday.

8:40 p.m. Wednesday

Vice President Mike Pence has canceled his planned trip to Georgia on Thursday because of the updated track of Hurricane Florence.

The vice president’s office says Pence will remain in Washington to monitor the federal response to the hurricane.

Georgia’s governor declared a state of emergency after new storm forecasts showed a more southerly threat to residents.

Pence had been scheduled to hold a campaign event for Georgia gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp and stop by an American Red Cross disaster field supply center in Atlanta and address employees at the Delta TechOps facility.

President Donald Trump has canceled campaign events in Missouri and Mississippi this week because of the impending hurricane.

8:40 p.m. Wednesday

A South Carolina city in the projected path of Hurricane Florence has put a curfew into place for residents who remain.

The Myrtle Beach Chamber announced on Twitter Wednesday that the city had declared a curfew from 10 p.m. Wednesday through 6 a.m. Thursday. Officials say other coastal communities including Surfside Beach have implemented similar curfews.

Gov. Henry McMaster has ordered the evacuation of much of South Carolina’s coast as the state waits for the storm projected to come ashore in the Carolinas later this week.

8 p.m. Wednesday

Forecasters say Hurricane Florence has slightly weakened but remains a potentially catastrophic Category 3 storm as it continues toward North and South Carolina.

The National Hurricane Center said Wednesday evening that the storm is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and rainfall to the Carolinas as it approaches the coast Thursday and Friday.

As of 8 p.m., the storm was centered 335 miles southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina and was moving northwest at 16 mph. Its maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly to 115 mph.

8 p.m. Wednesday

President Donald Trump spent Wednesday monitoring federal preparations for Hurricane Florence’s expected landfall in the Southeast.

The White House says Trump spoke with Sens. Lindsay Graham and Tim Scott of South Carolina and Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina to convey that the full support of the federal government stands ready to assist their states.

Earlier Wednesday Trump warned people in the path of the storm to heed the advice of state and local officials. He says: “protection of life is the absolute highest priority.”

Trump is also boasting about the state of federal preparedness. He says: “They’re all ready and we’re getting tremendous accolades from politicians and the people.”

8 p.m. Wednesday

Many who live in Virginia Beach began to take major storms more seriously after the remnants of Hurricane Matthew deluged the region in 2016. Homes that never flooded before were inundated.

Thirty-three-year-old Brady Osborne has not forgotten the 16 inches of rain that poured into his garage and the flooding the hurt home values in his neighborhood. He said he had used a canoe to reach dry land to pick up groceries.

He shoveled sand into sandbags on Wednesday to fortify his home.

He says “Matthew taught us.”

8 p.m. Wednesday

The forecast for Hurricane Florence’s wrath was only improving Wednesday for coastal Virginia, which is more than 200 miles north of where the storm is expected to strike. But many who live in this low-lying and flood-prone region weren’t taking any chances.

Je’Nein Ferrell is a 44-year-old adjunct professor at Norfolk State University. She shoveled sand into sandbags Wednesday with images of Houston following Hurricane Harvey in her head.

Ferrell was among throngs of people who took the city of Virginia Beach up on its offer of free sand for sandbagging. More than 100 people had cycled through in two hours, circling around sand piles as they were dumped from a truck.

Ferrell planned to secure some areas around her mother’s Virginia Beach town home. She said she would then consider whether she would leave Norfolk, where she lives.

She added that the weather has become increasingly unpredictable with climate change.

She says, “We can’t base our present on our past.”

7:10 p.m. Wednesday

South Carolina is planning to end the reversal of some interstate lanes that were switched to help move people away from the state’s coast as Hurricane Florence approaches.

Department of Public Safety Director Leroy Smith told reporters that, starting Thursday at 6 p.m., officers will close Interstate 26 lanes that had been switched from eastbound to westbound to move people away from the Charleston area toward the center of the state.

Gov. Henry McMaster on Tuesday ordered much of the state’s coast evacuated and reversed eastbound lanes to help people leave. Smith says officers will begin closing down the reversed lanes and gradually switch traffic back to its regular patterns.

Many officers are on the road during lane reversals, manning each exit and ensuring drivers don’t drive around barricades. The change allows agencies like Smith’s to pull back their officers when tropical storm-force winds are expected to arrive in the state.

7:10 p.m. Wednesday

West Virginia agencies are mobilizing to respond to problems arising from Hurricane Florence.

The governor’s office says in a news release the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management activated its emergency operations center Wednesday.

The statement says 50 National Guard members are prepared to assist in locations across the state. Nearly 70 tractor-trailer loads of supplies have arrived at the Guard’s 167th Airlift Wing in Martinsburg.

In June 2016, a series of thunderstorms pelted a wide swath of West Virginia. Nine inches of rain fell in 36 hours in some areas, leaving 23 dead statewide and destroying thousands of homes, businesses and infrastructure.

The National Weather Service forecast says up to 4 inches of rain is possible in parts of the state through next week.

6:15 p.m. Wednesday

President Donald Trump is urging those living in the path of Hurricane Florence to comply with all evacuation orders and emergency instructions.

Speaking Wednesday at the White House, Trump said “protection of life is the absolute highest priority.”

He warned that Florence could be “one of the biggest ever to hit the East Coast.”

The storm is still a Category 3 hurricane with winds of 120 mph as it approaches the North and South Carolina coasts.

Trump says his administration has been in “close contact” with the state and local governments soon to be impacted by the massive storm.

The National Weather Service is predicting that the hurricane will blow ashore as early as Friday afternoon along the North Carolina-South Carolina line, then push its rainy way westward, with a potential for catastrophic inland flooding.

5:40 p.m. Wednesday

Yet another storm has formed in the Atlantic.

The National Hurricane Center said Wednesday that Subtropical Storm Joyce has formed in the north Atlantic, but is not currently a threat to land.

Joyce has maximum sustained winds of 45 mph and is expected to become a tropical storm and to strengthen by Thursday.

Joyce is centered about 870 miles southwest of the Azores and is moving southwest at 6 mph.

4:30 p.m. Wednesday

The National Weather Service says more than 10 million residents in three states are under a storm watch or warning because of Hurricane Florence. There are 5.25 million people under hurricane warnings and watches and another 4.89 million under tropical storm watches and warnings.

Hurricane Warnings are in effect from the South Santee River in South Carolina to Duck, North Carolina. A hurricane watch stretches from Edisto Beach, South Carolina to the South Santee River.

A tropical storm warning is in effect from Duck, North Carolina, to the North Carolina/Virginia border, with a watch in effect from there to the Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort.

4:20 p.m. Wednesday

Duke Energy says damage from Hurricane Florence could cut off electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and the outages could last for weeks.

The country’s No. 2 power company said Wednesday that it’s anticipating 1 million to 3 million homes and businesses could lose power for lengthy periods, depending on the storm’s track.

Duke Energy North Carolina President David Fountain said Florence is so massive and its potential for damage so extensive that people could be without power for a very long time. Fountain says most storms are an inconvenience, “but Hurricane Florence will be a life-changing event for many people here in the Carolinas.”

The company says it’s already is shifting thousands of power workers from its Midwest and Florida regions and getting added workers from as far away as Texas.

4:20 p.m. Wednesday

North Carolina election officials already delayed in assembling fall ballots due to litigation now are bracing for any additional delays spurred by Hurricane Florence.

State elections Executive Director Kim Strach has urged county election boards to prepare for possible flooding by ensuring all voting equipment and files are protected.

She also reminded them that printed ballots need to go out to military and absentee voters by Sept. 22. Ballots took longer to finalize this year because of legal battles over ballot wording.

Hurricane Matthew hit North Carolina in October 2016, unleashing flooding that damaged both early-voting and Election Day polling places. A court delayed voter-registration deadlines to give more time to people displaced by the storm.

North Carolina voters will cast ballots this fall for Congress, the legislature, judgeships and six constitutional referendums.

4:20 p.m. Wednesday

About two dozen Kentucky firefighters are heading to North Carolina to help rescue people in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.

Swift-water search-and-rescue teams from Louisville and Jefferson County left Frankfort shortly after 2 p.m. Wednesday. They will stay in Raleigh, North Carolina, while Hurricane Florence makes landfall. After that, they will be deployed to rescue people from anticipated flooding.

Kentucky Emergency Management Director Mike Dossett says the state is intentionally deploying firefighters from western Kentucky counties. That’s because the remnants of Hurricane Florence are expected to dump up to 2 inches of rain in eastern Kentucky next week, which will likely cause flash flooding. Dossett said the state will be prepared if the storm comes to Kentucky.

3:30 p.m. Wednesday

An official from South Carolina’s Department of Natural Resources says officials are concerned about the potential for widespread flooding after Hurricane Florence’s arrival, particularly in the northeastern part of the state.

The Yadkin-Pee Dee River Basin, which starts near Blowing Rock, North Carolina, and flows across the state, culminates in South Carolina’s Winyah Bay, a coastal estuary near Georgetown.

Alvin Taylor said Wednesday that the area of concern includes the town of Nichols, a small community that experienced devastating flooding following Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

3:30 p.m. Wednesday

Two major home-supply chains have activated emergency response centers this week to track Hurricane Florence and get supplies to stores before and after the storm.

A Home Depot spokeswoman says the company sent about 750 trucks to areas affected by the hurricane, and a Lowe’s spokeswoman said it sent more than 1,000. The supplies include generators, trash bags and bottled water.

The companies say they plan to open their stores as soon as possible after the storm, and both are posting updates on store closures on their sites.

3:30 p.m. Wednesday

Home hardware stores are bursting with business as residents in Southern states that could be affected by Hurricane Florence are trying to protect their property.

Ace Hardware managers Tom Roberts and Harold Cook said Wednesday that employees were wrapping up five of the busiest days they have ever seen in their store in the tiny village of Calabash, North Carolina.

Roberts says the store sold hundreds of gas cans and ran out of generators, but still had bottled water, sand bags and other items.

But he says now it’s time for the employees themselves to get their own homes ready.

They also need to rest up, Roberts says, because the stores are “going to be just as busy with cleanup once this thing is gone.”

3:30 p.m. Wednesday

North Carolina builders will let tower cranes on construction sites rotate freely in the wind when Hurricane Florence arrives, a move designed to prevent them from being toppled or damaged by heavy wind.

Crews started preparing cranes on office building construction sites in Charlotte, Raleigh and Durham earlier this week. Before hurricane-force winds arrive, they’ll disengage the brakes that normally hold a crane’s boom in place, a practice called “weathervaning.”

North Carolina-based Heede Construction president Dennis Kenna says a 300-foot tall crane can withstand wind speeds of more than 100 mph. Shorter cranes can withstand much higher speeds. Most of Heede’s 30 cranes in North Carolina are less than 300 feet tall.

Two cranes collapsed in Miami last year when strong winds from Hurricane Irma struck the city. It’s unclear how fast the winds that brought down the cranes were, but gusts over 90 mph were reported at Miami International Airport.

Florence is expected to bring tropical storm-force winds to North Carolina’s inland cities later this week.

3 p.m. Wednesday

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster says more than 300,000 people have already evacuated the state’s coasts ahead of Hurricane Florence.

McMaster told reporters Wednesday that the storm could bring more rain to the state than 1989’s devastating Hurricane Hugo.

McMaster has ordered much of the state’s coastline evacuated, reversing some lanes of a major interstate to direct all traffic inland.

Forecasters warned as much as 15 inches could fall in some portions of the state through at least Monday.

The head of the state’s National Guard also says the federal government has positioned aid ships off South Carolina’s coast and they’ll be ready to assist after the storm moves through.

3 p.m. Wednesday

Two of the nation’s largest motor speedways have opened their vast campgrounds to Southerners escaping Hurricane Florence, part of a patchwork of shelters across the region serving as a last refuge for storm evacuees.

But gas shortages and jammed freeways loomed for evacuees seeking safety in far-away shelters, campgrounds and hotels. In North Carolina, 1 in 10 gas stations in Wilmington and Raleigh-Durham had no gas by midday Wednesday.

At Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia, personal belongings were spread across an open field where the first few evacuees arrived Wednesday.

Melody Rawson left her first-floor apartment in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, arriving at the Georgia speedway with two dogs and a cockatoo, and a couple of coolers holding some sandwich meat.

Bristol Motor Speedway, near the Tennessee-Virginia line, also opened its campgrounds to evacuees.

11:20 a.m. Wednesday

Federal regulators are reviewing preparations for nuclear plants in the Carolinas as Hurricane Florence approaches the coast.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Wednesday said it’s sending additional inspectors to plants in North and South Carolina and is activating its regional incident response center in Atlanta, to provide around-the-clock staff support during the storm.

The NRC says Duke Energy’s Brunswick nuclear plant south of Wilmington, North Carolina, could face hurricane-force winds, major storm surges and heavy rain.

Duke says it has a procedure to begin shutting down plants at least two hours before the arrival of hurricane-force winds. Duke also operates three nuclear plants in South Carolina, though none are on the coast.

11:20 a.m. Wednesday

U.S. Coast Guard crews in Charleston, South Carolina, are making final preparations ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence.

Capt. John Reed says the Coast Guard is asking people to heed evacuation orders and leave coastal areas.

The Coast Guard says mariners shouldn’t go out to sea in recreational boats and should use 911 and not social media to report life-threatening distress.

Gov. Henry McMaster has ordered people in coastal areas including Charleston to evacuate the area ahead of the Category 4 storm.

Reed says the Coast Guard will work with local officials as soon as it’s safe to assess waterways and help anyone in distress.

11:20 a.m. Wednesday

The mayor of a town outside Charleston, South Carolina, is telling people to “take control of your destiny” and leave town now before Hurricane Florence arrives.

Will Haynie is mayor of the Town of Mount Pleasant, just to the east of Charleston, South Carolina.

He urged residents on Wednesday to get out of the path of the massive and powerful Category 4 storm, the likes of which he said the area hasn’t seen since 1989’s Hugo.

Haynie says local buses in the Charleston area will pick residents up and get them to shelters until 9 p.m. Wednesday.

Haynie says residents “can take control of your destiny by getting of the way of this dangerous storm.”

11:20 a.m. Wednesday

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is urging residents in evacuation zones to move to safety, saying the effects of Hurricane Florence are “only hours away.”

Cooper spoke at a news conference Wednesday morning with other emergency management officials.

The governor said there’s still time for coastal residents to evacuate if their home is at risk and time for others to finish preparing for the storm.

Cooper says “disaster is at the doorstep, and it’s coming in.”

The governor added that “a lot of people that might normally stay through a hurricane have recognized that this one is different.”

Shelters began opening Tuesday and more will open Wednesday.

Cooper says state flood plain experts have been modeling the storm’s projected impacts and found that from the storm surge alone, tens of thousands of structures are expected to be flooded.

The governor also announced he had activated more National Guard soldiers. Emergency management officials said 3,000 would be on active duty by Wednesday evening, with more on standby.

11:20 a.m. Wednesday

The mayor of a South Carolina city in the projected path of Hurricane Florence says residents need to leave the area as soon as possible.

Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune said that seeing the storm’s newly projected path toward her city was like “waking up to a sucker punch.”

To the city’s roughly 32,000 residents, Bethune says Myrtle Beach “is not a place where you want to be” when the storm arrives.

Myrtle Beach is one of the state’s tourism centers. It is among coastal areas under mandatory evacuation orders by Gov. Henry McMaster.

Bethune says she’s particularly worried about projected storm surge from the storm, which has slowed down and could linger along South Carolina’s coast, dumping inches of rain.

11:20 a.m. Wednesday

Dozens of airmen are assembling at a New York Air National Guard base on Long Island to prepare for deployment to Southern states in the path of Hurricane Florence.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that 50 members of the 106th Rescue Wing based at Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Westhampton Beach are preparing to travel to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

He says elements of the unit will depart as early as Wednesday afternoon to offer assistance along coastal areas of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

The New York Army National Guard is ready to deploy four helicopters to help storm response efforts. The aircraft are based at the Army Aviation Support Facility at Rochester International Airport.

11:05 a.m. Wednesday

Forecasters say Hurricane Florence is generating enormous waves, as high as 83 feet as it makes its way toward the East Coast.

The National Hurricane Center says the waves were measured by satellite.

The huge waves are being produced because currents are trapped by very strong winds moving in the same direction the storm’s motion.

The center’s Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch is tweeting about the phenomenon.

The center of the storm is about 485 miles out to sea, with tropical-storm-force winds extending outward up to 175 miles.

11 a.m. Wednesday

Forecasters say Hurricane Florence is expected to steadily slow down as it makes its way toward the East Coast.

At 11 a.m., the storm was centered 485 miles southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, moving at 15 mph.

It’s a potentially catastrophic Category 4 storm with 130 mph maximum sustained winds.

Some strengthening is forecast through Wednesday night, drawing energy from the warm water.

Its winds could approach Category 5 strength, which means winds of 157 mph or higher.

Florence is the most dangerous of three tropical systems in the Atlantic.

Tropical Storm Isaac was expected to pass south of Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and Cuba. Hurricane Helene was expected to weaken over the eastern Atlantic. Forecasters also were tracking two other disturbances.

10:45 a.m. Wednesday

Forecasters said Wednesday that Florence’s wind field is expanding, making it a large, stable hurricane with a clearly defined eye at its center.

National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham warns that a slight shift in Florence’s forecast track does not mean that some communities north of the storm are now in the clear.

The “cone of error” in the forecast track only predicts where the storm’s center might go, and even on its edges, winds can push a powerful storm surge into shore dozens of miles from where Florence’s eyewall strikes land.

“Just because you have a landfall to your south doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods, because the winds are huge around this system,” Graham said.

9:30 a.m. Wednesday

Jeff Byard of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it was imperative locals heed the evacuation warnings.

He says the time to flee Hurricane Florence is now. Landfall was expected sometime late Thursday and FEMA officials said Wednesday was the last day for people to get out safely.

“Today’s the day,” he said. “It’s time for our citizens to be a part of the team. Heed those warnings and evacuate if you’re in one of the zones.”

Byard told a news conference at FEMA headquarters in Washington that the agency has all the resources it needs to react to the natural disaster.

9:20 a.m. Wednesday

The National Hurricane Center and computer models have shifted the forecast track for Hurricane Florence noticeably to the south and west, but it doesn’t mean northern North Carolina, Virginia and other mid-Atlantic states are in the clear.

The official track has Florence hovering off the southern North Carolina coast from Thursday night until landfall Saturday morning or so, then veering south through South Carolina and Georgia into Monday.

Meteorology director Jeff Masters at the private Weather Underground says Florence will come “roaring up to the coast Thursday night and say ‘I’m not sure I really want to do this, and I’ll just take a tour of the coast and decide where I want to go inland.'”

If these projections hold, University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy says “it’s exceptionally bad news, as it smears a landfall out over hundreds of miles of coastline, most notably the storm surge.”

“The rainfall has been and continues to be a very substantial threat over the entire area,” McNoldy said.

8:55 a.m. Wednesday

The mayor of a South Carolina city in the path of powerful Hurricane Florence is warning citizens to get out or stay “at your own peril.”

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said the nearly 135,000 residents of his historic coastal city should leave now before the storm arrives later in the week.

Gov. Henry McMaster has ordered evacuations in counties along the state’s coast, including Charleston.

All lanes of Interstate 26 are westbound to allow more people to leave the coast and head inland toward the state capital of Columbia.

Tecklenburg said his flood-prone city is preparing for “copious rain” by clearing out the city’s drainage system and getting boats and portable pumps ready. Many areas in the low-lying city flood with routine rain storms, causing street closures and detours.

8:30 a.m. Wednesday

The National Weather Service says Hurricane Florence “will likely be the storm of a lifetime for portions of the Carolina coast.”

That’s saying a lot, given the impacts from Hurricanes Diana, Hugo, Fran, Bonnie, Floyd and Matthew.

Forecasters in Wilmington, North Carolina, are emphasizing the potential for what they’re calling “unbelievable damage from wind, storm surge, and inland flooding.”

With predicted rainfall measured in feet not inches, forecasters say people living along creeks and rivers in the Carolinas should move to higher ground well ahead of the storm’s arrival.

8 a.m. Wednesday

The 8 a.m. forecast on Hurricane Florence reinforces projections the storm’s path will shift slightly to the southeast as it closes in on the Carolinas.

The center of the Category 4 hurricane, still swirling with top winds of 130 mph, was about 530 miles southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, approaching the coast at 17 mph.

National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham says damaging winds and rain could begin hitting the coast late Thursday, pushing a storm surge that could reach 13 feet in places. Rain will continue through Sunday, dumping feet of water over a wide area.

5 a.m. Wednesday

A dangerous Hurricane Florence is steadily making its way to the U.S. East Coast.

At 5 a.m., the storm was centered 575 miles southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, moving at 17 mph. Strengthening is forecast through Wednesday.

It was a potentially catastrophic Category 4 storm but was expected to keep drawing energy from the warm water and intensify to near Category 5, which means winds of 156 mph or higher.

President Donald Trump declared states of emergency for North and South Carolina and Virginia, opening the way for federal aid.

2:20 a.m. Wednesday

The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Florence is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and rainfall to portions of the Carolinas and mid-Atlantic states.

At 2 a.m., the storm was centered 625 miles southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, moving at 17 mph. Strengthening is forecast through Wednesday.

It was a potentially catastrophic Category 4 storm but was expected to keep drawing energy from the warm water and intensify to near Category 5, which means winds of 156 mph or higher.

Forecasters say the center of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Wednesday, and approach the coast of the Carolinas in the hurricane warning area on Thursday and Friday.

11 p.m. Tuesday

Residents on the Carolina coast are finding empty gas pumps and depleted store shelves as they flee a potentially devastating blow from Hurricane Florence.

With the storm churning across the Atlantic with 140 mph winds, hurricane watches and warnings include the homes of more than 5.4 million people on the East Coast. A steady stream of vehicles filled with people and belongings is moving inland.

Forecasters say Florence is expected to blow ashore late Thursday or early Friday, then slow down and dump 1 to 2 1/2 feet of rain that could cause flooding well inland and wreak environmental havoc by washing over industrial waste sites and hog farms.

President Donald Trump declared states of emergency for North and South Carolina and Virginia, opening the way for federal aid.

7:30 p.m. Tuesday

The National Weather Service says more than 5.4 million people live in areas now under hurricane warnings or watches on the U.S. East Coast.

Another 4 million people are under a tropical storm watch. Assorted bad weather advisories stretched from Florida to Maine on Tuesday evening.

Those facing the most serious threat are in the Carolinas, as Category 4 Hurricane Florence barrels toward the coast, with an expected landfall Friday.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Tuesday that a hurricane warning had been issued from South Santee River, South Carolina, to Duck, North Carolina, and the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.

A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued from north of the North Carolina-Virginia border to Cape Charles Light, Virginia, and for the Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort.

7:20 p.m. Tuesday

Court cases and fall election campaigns are the latest activities getting set aside in North Carolina as residents prepare and brace for the arrival of Hurricane Florence.

Local courthouses in close to 40 counties have curtailed or suspended criminal and civil cases through the remainder of the week, with some nearest the coast shutting down Tuesday.

And some political committees and candidates for the state legislature canceled fundraising events because of the approaching storm. Democratic candidate for Congress Linda Coleman announced she has stopped all campaign activities until the storm passed.

The cancellations are on top of public schools and colleges and universities canceling classes for the end of the week. Several college football games this weekend have also been postponed.

6:45 p.m. Tuesday

Airlines are beginning to cancel flights ahead of Hurricane Florence making landfall later this week.

And Charleston International Airport in South Carolina is tweeting that it expects runways to close by midnight Wednesday as it monitors Hurricane Florence.

Southwest Airlines’ website showed that it had canceled at least a half-dozen flights to and from Charleston on Tuesday. The airline didn’t immediately comment.

The tracking service FlightAware.com showed that by late Tuesday afternoon, American had canceled more than 50 American Eagle regional flights both Wednesday and Thursday. It wasn’t clear if all were due to Florence, however.

American said the storm was responsible for cancellations to and from the North Carolina cities of Fayetteville, Greenville, Jacksonville, New Bern and Wilmington.

6:45 p.m. Tuesday

North Carolina is evacuating prisoners and staff from low- and medium-security prisons that lie in the path of Hurricane Florence over concerns they won’t be able to withstand the storm.

Department of corrections spokesman Jerry Higgins on Tuesday confirmed “several hundred” prisoners from minimum- and medium-custody facilities are being transferred to other facilities across the state. The move started Monday and will continue into the week.

Higgins says the department of corrections can’t say exactly which facilities are being evacuated. They won’t disclose where or exactly how many prisoners are being moved until they have been relocated.

North Carolina has maximum-security prisons in the path of Hurricane Florence, but those facilities are not being evacuated. Higgins says those structures are more capable of withstanding the storm than minimum- and medium-custody facilities.

6:30 p.m. Tuesday

There are two big fuel pipelines in the path of Hurricane Florence, but analysts think the storm is unlikely to disrupt the flow of gasoline or other products.

Analysts for S&P Global Platts say it’s possible, “though less likely,” that the Colonial and Plantation pipelines could be hurt by power outages or damage to pump stations.

The pipelines carry fuels from the Gulf Coast to much of the eastern U.S. They run well inland through South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, and they are underground.

Analysts expect a temporary boost in gasoline demand as people flee from Florence, followed by weaker demand during and immediately after the storm.

But it is highly unlikely to be anything like Hurricane Harvey, which last year hit Houston, the heart of the U.S. energy industry. Flooding closed down many refineries along the Texas and Louisiana coasts, causing a temporary spike in gasoline prices.

6:30 p.m. Tuesday

The commander of Camp Lejeune and all Marine installations on the East Coast says there is no mandatory evacuation due to the approaching hurricane.

Brigadier General Julian D. Alford said in a message Tuesday that those who remain on the bases will have food, water and protection from the storm.

Spokesman Nat Fahy says the base is the safest place for residents to be if they haven’t already evacuated.

Fahy says shelters on the base are expected to open early Wednesday, and there will be a full complement of resources for those sheltering in place.

Of the roughly 40,000 active duty troops, about three-quarters live off the base. Thousands of non-essential forces have evacuated with their families.

6:30 p.m. Tuesday

People aren’t the only ones evacuating to get out of the path of Hurricane Florence.

Eight dogs and 18 cats from a shelter in Norfolk, Virginia, have been brought to Washington, D.C., to make room for pets expected to be displaced by the hurricane.

The animals arrived Tuesday afternoon at one of two D.C. shelters run by the Humane Rescue Alliance. The dogs and cats are expected to be available for adoption within the next few days. They include tabby cats, hound mixes and Chihuahua mixes.

6:10 p.m. Tuesday

Kentucky and West Virginia are offering discounted rates on lodging at their state parks for people seeking shelter from Hurricane Florence.

The Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet said the discounted nightly rate for lodge rooms is $49.95 for residents of any East Coast state seeking shelter from the hurricane. One-bedroom cottages are $69.95, and two bedrooms are $79.95. The rates are good until Sept. 30.

In West Virginia, Gov. Jim Justice said state parks will offer a 55 percent discount on rooms, cabins and campsites through Tuesday.

West Virginia’s Agriculture Department also said it will waive entry requirements for animals taken to West Virginia because of the hurricane. Also, the State Fair of West Virginia is offering temporary shelter for up to 100 horses.

2:40 p.m. Tuesday

Forecasters at the University of Michigan predict that 2.4 million people will lose power from Hurricane Florence and some outages could be prolonged.

That’s about one-fourth the number who suffered outages from Hurricane Sandy, which hit a more populated area around New Jersey in 2012.

Seth Guikema is an associate professor of engineering at Michigan. He says outages could be more widespread if Florence veers north or stalls, leading to flooding.

The estimate is based on the National Hurricane Center’s forecast for Florence’s path and wind speeds.

Duke Energy spokeswoman Grace Rountree says the utility doesn’t forecast outages, but is “anticipating significant widespread outages from a storm of this magnitude.”

She says the company is bringing in up to 2,000 workers from Florida and the Midwest to augment its 4,600 workers in North Carolina and South Carolina.

Duke has 4 million customers in the Carolinas.

2:40 p.m. Tuesday

As the Carolinas brace for the impact of extremely dangerous Florence toward the end of the week, other states are sending resources.

Southern California firefighting teams specializing in urban-search and swift-water rescue, and a search-and-rescue team from Tennessee are being deployed to Virginia ahead of Florence’s arrival.

Louisiana is sending nearly 100 emergency personnel to the Carolinas. The Louisiana fire marshal’s office is sending a water-rescue team and an urban search-and-rescue team to South Carolina, along with other emergency workers.

More than three dozen members of a Nebraska search-and-rescue team left Tuesday morning for Raleigh, North Carolina. The deployed members include two K-9 search units.

2:15 p.m. Tuesday

Virginia is moving its football game against Ohio to Nashville, Tennessee due to Hurricane Florence’s approach.

Cavaliers athletic director Carla Williams says safety is the top priority in the decision. Relocating the game also will allow emergency personnel in the Charlottesville, Virginia area to focus on regional needs brought by the hurricane.

The Cavaliers (1-1) will face Ohio (1-0) on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at Vanderbilt Stadium. Admission will be free.

1:10 p.m. Tuesday

North Carolina State’s home football game against No. 14 West Virginia won’t take place Saturday with Hurricane Florence approaching the state.

The schools announced the change Tuesday afternoon, citing the “increasing likelihood of severe and unsafe conditions.”

The school said the decision came after discussions with West Virginia, the Atlantic Coast Conference and emergency management officials.

It’s unclear if the game will be rescheduled.

12:50 p.m. Tuesday

North Carolina’s game against No. 18 Central Florida won’t take place Saturday and Wake Forest’s Thursday night matchup with Boston College will start two hours earlier because of Hurricane Florence.

The Tar Heels were set to play their first home game in Chapel Hill after two road losses.

But the school announced Tuesday afternoon the game wouldn’t be played as scheduled, though the schools will continue discussions on whether to play the game later this season.

In a statement, athletic director Bubba Cunningham called it “the sensible decision at this time” with Florence’s projected path carrying the storm through the state.

The Atlantic Coast Conference also announced that Wake Forest’s game against Boston College in Winston-Salem will start at 5:30 p.m. to get done earlier with Florence approaching the Carolinas’ coastline Thursday and Friday.

12:50 p.m. Tuesday

President Donald Trump says the federal government is “absolutely, totally prepared” for Hurricane Florence as it heads toward the Eastern Seaboard.

The president briefed reporters at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Tuesday.

Trump has declared states of emergency for North and South Carolina ahead of the Category 4 hurricane, which frees up help from federal agencies.

He has also canceled campaign events Thursday and Friday in anticipation of the storm.

The president was meeting with officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency later Tuesday.

12:50 p.m. Tuesday

Some areas in Florence’s path, particularly northern Virginia, have seen more rainfall than normal this summer, and National Weather Service officials say that means flooding might begin more quickly.

Data from the weather service show some parts of northern Virginia have seen 10 inches or more of precipitation above average over the past 90 days.

Fred Turck is part of the Virginia’s Department of Forestry’s fire and emergency response division.

He says the department is concerned about what could be excessive timber damage. He says when soil is saturated, less wind than normally would be needed can topple a tree because the roots don’t hold as well.

Turck says tree damage will result in short-term impacts like power outages, blocked roads and damaged structures but could also impact the long-term health of forests and lead to wildfire problem.

12:30 p.m. Tuesday

The mayor of Washington has declared a state of emergency as the nation’s capital prepares for heavy rains, flooding and power outages related to Hurricane Florence.

Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the move Tuesday morning, describing it as a necessary step to “ensure we have the resources and support” to handle several days of torrential rain.

Several public events and street festivals scheduled for this weekend have been canceled, and Bowser advised Washington residents to stock up on groceries and batteries and make sure their prescriptions are filled.

City officials say the primary dangers to residents will come from flash flooding and power lines downed by falling tree branches.

12:15 p.m. Tuesday

Some Virginians who have been ordered to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Florence might have to wait a few days before they can get into a free shelter.

Virginia Department of Emergency Management spokesman Jeff Caldwell said local governments are responsible for opening up shelters for evacuees and some won’t open until Wednesday or Thursday.

Gov. Ralph Northam ordered a mandatory evacuation for some residents of low-lying coastal areas that went into effect at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

The order affects 245,000 residents in the Hampton Roads area, the Eastern Shore and other coastal areas.

Caldwell said the state is considering opening its own shelters later this week if the local shelters fill to capacity.

12:15 p.m. Tuesday

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is saying his state is “in the bull’s-eye” of Hurricane Florence. The very center of that bull’s-eye might be Camp Lejeune.

Authorities on the sprawling Marine Corps training base are in emergency mode, staging equipment and urging families on the base to build survival kits with the food and equipment needed to sustain themselves for 72 hours.

Mandatory coastal evacuations were in effect for civilians in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, but the military base posted on Facebook that different chains-of-command would decide whether to release nonessential personnel.

Some military families are venting fears they won’t be able to evacuate in time.

12:15 p.m. Tuesday

Officials say they’re taking steps to ensure safety at nuclear power plants in South Carolina as a Category 4 hurricane nears the state.

Ryan Mosier of Duke Energy said the power company was closely monitoring Hurricane Florence and ensuring that emergency equipment is in working order.

Duke operates three nuclear stations in South Carolina, though none are along the coast. SCANA operates two reactors at a site just north of Columbia.

Mosier says each of Duke’s sites has emergency generators for backup power, as well as pumps and other redundant systems and supplies of food and water for employees.

If forecasters predict any site will experience sustained winds of 73 mph or more, Mosier says operators will begin to shut down units at least two hours prior to impact.

11:55 a.m. Tuesday

Gov. Greg Abbott says Texas is preparing for a possible tropical storm system in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico.

The tropical system is one of five that have formed in the Atlantic Ocean, including hurricanes Florence and Helene, Tropical Storm Isaac and an as-yet unnamed system far off the East Coast. Abbott says Texas is keeping an eye on the system in the Gulf.

The National Hurricane Center says that system could become a tropical depression by Thursday or Friday, and that residents along both the Texas and Louisiana coasts should monitor the storm.

Florence is the most powerful and dangerous of all the weather systems.

The Category 4 hurricane with 130 mph winds was barreling toward the coasts of North and South Carolina and has been forecast to hit land as an extremely large, powerful and dangerous storm. Some coastal residents have been ordered to evacuate.

11:30 a.m. Tuesday

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster says he has lifted mandatory evacuation orders in three counties along the state’s southern coast.

McMaster made the announcement Tuesday as forecasters continued to show Hurricane Florence’s projected tract moving farther northward.

McMaster also said lane reversals would begin at 11 a.m. Tuesday on Interstate 26, an hour earlier than had been scheduled, allowing all lanes of the interstate to move westward, away from the coast.

10:55 a.m. Tuesday

Forecasters say Florence will arrive on land as an extremely dangerous major hurricane by the end of the week.

According to the National Hurricane Center, Florence has maximum sustained winds near 130 mph.

By 11 a.m. Tuesday, Florence was centered about 905 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, and moving west-northwest at 16 mph.

Its center will move between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday, then approach the coast of South Carolina or North Carolina.

Two other storms are spinning in the Atlantic as the 2018 hurricane season peaks: Tropical Storm Isaac is approaching the Caribbean, while Hurricane Helene is no threat to land over waters.

As Isaac approaches the Caribbean, hurricane watches are in effect for Guadeloupe, Martinique and Dominica, while a tropical storm watch was issued for Antigua and Montserrat.

10:40 a.m. Tuesday

South Carolina’s governor has ordered more than a million people living along the state’s coast to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Florence.

Gov. Henry McMaster says he’s preparing the state for winds as powerful as Hurricane Hugo, which plowed inland nearly 30 years ago and caused devastating damage.

McMaster said on CNN Tuesday that officials are “taking nothing for granted” with Florence predicted to make landfall Thursday. The storm is so huge that South Carolina won’t be spared even if it escapes the eye of the hurricane.

The evacuation order becomes mandatory at noon Tuesday, but cameras show traffic already backing up along the main interstate connecting Charleston and Columbia.

10:30 a.m. Tuesday

National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham is warning that the “staggering” size of Florence means its impacts will be felt far and wide.

Forecasters say hurricane-force winds extend up to 40 miles from the center of Hurricane Florence, and tropical storm-force winds reach up to 150 miles from its eye.

That means the hurricane will be dumping rain over multiple East Coast states, and it’s not just a coastal problem. With torrential rains in the Appalachian mountains, that water could easily cause flash floods.

10:20 a.m. Tuesday

President Donald Trump is canceling a campaign rally in advance of Hurricane Florence’s landfall.

His campaign says it’s canceling a Thursday event in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, where he had been scheduled to stump for the Republican Senate candidate, state attorney general Josh Hawley.

The campaign said the event was scuttled out of safety concerns. It was the second rally Trump canceled this week because of the storm, after a Friday rally slated for Mississippi.

The massive hurricane is closing in on the Carolinas and Virginia and could cause disastrous weather as far as Pennsylvania and Ohio.

8 a.m. Tuesday

The National Hurricane Center says a new report from an Air Force Reserve Unit hurricane hunter aircraft indicates that Hurricane Florence’s top sustained winds have decreased slightly to 130 mph, with higher gusts.

Florence is still a Category 4 hurricane and is expected to regain its top wind strength in the next day or so. It remains an extremely dangerous major hurricane through Thursday night.

The 8 a.m. forecast changes the storm surge watch for the eastern United States, with the worst impact, a surge of up to 12 feet, expected on a stretch from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout in North Carolina.

It says total rainfall could reach 30 inches in some places, prompting life-threatening flash flooding from South Carolina to Northern Virginia.

5:20 a.m. Tuesday

Hurricane Florence has slightly increased in speed as it heads toward the U.S. East Coast.

The National Hurricane Center said Tuesday morning that Florence is moving toward the west-northwest near 15 mph and the storm will continue a slight increase in speed during the next couple of days.

The Miami-based center says the storm’s center was located about 410 miles south of Bermuda and about 975 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina.

Maximum sustained winds were clocked at 140 mph as it moved west-northwest at 13 mph.

Florence is expected to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane through Thursday night.

11:10 p.m. Monday

Hurricane Florence continues to grow in size and magnitude as it barrels toward the U.S. East Coast.

The National Hurricane Center said Monday the monster storm will be close to Category 5 strength by Tuesday. A Category 5 storm has the potential to cause catastrophic damage.

“The bottom line is that there is high confidence that Florence will be a large and extremely dangerous hurricane, regardless of its exact intensity,” the hurricane center said. Florence was a Category 4 storm late afternoon Monday.

At 11 p.m. EDT, the storm’s center was located about 465 miles south-southeast of Bermuda and about 1,085 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina.

Maximum sustained winds were clocked at 140 mph as it moved west-northwest at 13 mph.

Some strengthening is expected during the next 36 hours, and Florence is expected to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane through Thursday.

10:45 p.m. Monday

President Donald Trump has approved North Carolina’s Emergency Declaration.

In a statement Monday night the administration says the president’s actions “authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency, to coordinate all disaster relief efforts.”

The National Hurricane Center said Monday the monster storm continues to intensify and will be close to Category 5 strength by Tuesday. A Category 5 storm has the potential to cause catastrophic damage.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper urged residents to evacuate the state’s coastal areas as Florence moves closer to landfall.

10 p.m. Monday

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper is urging residents to evacuate the state’s coastal areas as Hurricane Florence moves closer to landfall.

Cooper’s office said in a statement Monday that the Category 4 hurricane is expected to hit the Wilmington area on Thursday, but impacts of the storm will likely begin Wednesday. Cooper says the state faces three threats from Florence: “ocean surge along our coast, strong winds, and inland flooding from heavy rain.”

Counties that have ordered evacuations are Bertie, Brunswick, Currituck, Dare, Hyde, New Hanover and Onslow. The statement says more evacuation orders are expected on Tuesday.

Residents are also urged to download the Ready NC app or follow NC Emergency Management on Facebook and Twitter for weather updates and to learn how to prepare for the storm.

6:05 p.m. Monday

Virginia’s governor has ordered a mandatory evacuation for some residents of low-lying coastal areas as Hurricane Florence approaches the East Coast.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced at a press conference Monday that the evacuation order set to begin Tuesday at 8 a.m. applies to parts of the Hampton Roads area and Eastern Shore. State officials say 245,000 people live in the affected area.

Northam says the evacuation zone includes the most flood-prone coastal areas.

The governor is urging all Virginia residents to prepare for the storm, which he says will affect the entire state.

3 p.m. Monday

A mandatory evacuation order has been issued for residents living along the entire South Carolina coast.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has ordered the evacuation to start at noon Tuesday as Hurricane Florence approaches. The order applies to all eight counties along the coast: Jasper, Beaufort, Colleton, Charleston, Dorchester, Georgetown, Horry, and Berkeley counties.

He says storm surge could reach as high as 10 feet and estimates 1 million residents will be leaving the coast. Eastbound lanes of Interstate 26 heading into Charleston and U.S. 501 heading into Myrtle Beach will be reversed when the order takes effect.

McMaster has already declared a state of emergency in South Carolina and asked President Donald Trump for a federal declaration ahead of the storm, which intensified Monday to a potentially catastrophic Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 130 mph.

Forecasters say the hurricane’s strength is expected to fluctuate but it still will be a dangerous storm by the time it reaches the coast of South Carolina or North Carolina on Thursday.

1:45 p.m. Monday

North Carolina’s governor says consistency of the Hurricane Florence’s forecast track toward the Carolinas has helped the state understand the threat early on and given it time to get ready.

Gov. Roy Cooper said at a news conference at the state’s Emergency Operations Center that the North Carolina is in the “bull’s-eye” of the rapidly strengthening storm.

Cooper said he asked President Donald Trump for a federal disaster declaration so that resources will be ready when the storm arrives. Cooper already issued a state of emergency late last week.

The governor said residents should prepare for ocean surge, strong winds, and inland flooding. Thousands of law enforcement officers, National Guard troops, and government workers are focusing on storm preparations.

State emergency management officials already are considering whether to recommend counties evacuate some homes along the Tar, Lumber and Neuse rivers. High waters from the rivers impacted homes and businesses after Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.

1 p.m. Monday

National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham warned that Florence was forecast to slow down significantly once it reaches shore and linger over the Carolinas. Predictions for heavy rainfall stretched into West Virginia.

“When you stall a system like this and it moves real slow, some of that rainfall can extend well away from the center,” Graham said. “It’s not just the coast.”

He warned people living on the coasts and well inland to prepare to lose power, among other storm impacts.

“Rain plus winds equals a lot of trees down and power outages that could be for an extended period of time,” Graham said.

Elsewhere in the busy tropics, Graham said Hurricane Isaac was expected to lose strength as it reaches the Caribbean, but it could still bring rain and strong winds to parts of Puerto Rico.

12:10 p.m. Monday

Florence has become even stronger over the Atlantic Ocean.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center say Florence rapidly intensified Monday morning to a potentially catastrophic Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 130 mph.

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.

Forecasters say the hurricane’s strength is expected to fluctuate but it still will be a dangerous storm by the time it reaches the coast of South Carolina or North Carolina on Thursday.

As of noon EDT, Florence was centered about 575 miles south-southeast of Bermuda, moving west at 13 mph.

11:55 a.m. Monday

The U.S. Navy is sending nearly 30 of its Virginia-based ships out to sea as Hurricane Florence barrels toward the Atlantic Coast.

Navy spokeswoman Alana Garas said the ships will disembark Monday from naval bases including the world’s largest in Norfolk. The ships will head to portions of the Atlantic where they can avoid the storm.

Some ships will stay behind because they’re undergoing maintenance and may be tied down with additional mooring and storm lines.

Meanwhile, naval bases near Virginia’s coast are also sandbagging flood prone areas and topping off fuel generators.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center have said Florence is expected to be an extremely dangerous storm by the time it nears the coast of South Carolina or North Carolina on Thursday.

11:30 a.m. Monday

North Carolina’s governor has urged residents to get prepared for Hurricane Florence as forecasters predict the state could be in the “bullseye” of the storm.

Gov. Roy Cooper said the state is bracing for three threats from Hurricane Florence: ocean surges along the coast, strong winds, and island flooding. He said North Carolina is “bracing for a hard hit” in what forecasters say will be a statewide event.

Evacuations of coastal communities began Monday and are expected to continue over the next few days.

Cooper said 200 National Guard troops have already been activated. He’s also asked President Donald Trump for a disaster declaration so the state can get federal help as quickly as possible.

11:10 a.m. Monday

Officials along in North Carolina’s coast are issuing a mandatory evacuation order for all visitors and residents on Hatteras Island as Hurricane Florence moves closer to the East Coast.

Dare County officials have announced that a mandatory evacuation order goes into effect on Hatteras Island at noon Monday. A mandatory evacuation for residents and visitors in other areas of the county goes into effect at 7 a.m. Tuesday.

Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency and is urging all North Carolinians to prepare.

The state’s Division of Marine Fisheries is also calling on fishermen to start preparing and should remove fishing gear from the water well before the storm arrives. Vessel owners should make sure to check safety equipment is working and remove boats from the water or take them to safe harbor as the storm approaches.

11 a.m. Monday

Hurricane Florence has strengthened into a Category 3 storm with 115 mph maximum-sustained winds as it swirls toward the U.S. East Coast.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center say Florence is expected to be an extremely dangerous storm by the time it nears the coast of South Carolina or North Carolina on Thursday.

As of 11 a.m. EDT, Florence was centered about 580 miles south-southeast of Bermuda, moving west at 13 mph.

Far behind Florence is Hurricane Isaac, which had maximum sustained winds at 75 mph.

Isaac was centered about 1,150 miles east of the Windward Islands and moving west at 14 mph.

The hurricane center says Isaac is a very small hurricane and its intensity could fluctuate as it approaches the Caribbean. However it’s still expected to be at or near hurricane strength by the time it reaches the Lesser Antilles.

Forecasters said Hurricane Helene was strengthening far from land over the open Atlantic, centered about 375 miles west of the southernmost Cabo Verde Islands.

9:45 a.m. Monday

The current forecast for Hurricane Florence means the North Carolina coast could face a storm of unprecedented strength.

North Carolina has only been hit by one Category 4 hurricane since reliable records have been kept more than 150 years ago.

Hurricane Hazel came ashore at the South Carolina-North Carolina state line with winds of 130 mph in 1954.

The state has only been hit by about a dozen Category 3 storms since 1850. The last was Hurricane Fran in 1996, which came ashore near Wilmington.

South Carolina has been hit by three Category 4 storms: Hazel; Gracie, in 1959; and Hugo, in 1989.

Forecasters said Monday the storm to come ashore by late Thursday or early Friday.

Some computer models show the storm making landfall near Wilmington, south of the Outer Banks. But it was still too early to predict an exact path for the storm.

9 a.m. Monday

Hurricane Florence is aiming for a region of the U.S. East Coast that is especially vulnerable to storm surge and flooding from heavy rains.

Experts have warned for years of the danger hurricanes pose to a region stretching from Virginia Beach at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay to Charleston, South Carolina, where the land is sinking and the ocean is rising at some of the highest rates on the East Coast.

The Center for Sea Level Rise at Old Dominion University in Virginia says cities built on low coastal planes and former creek beds are particularly vulnerable.

8 a.m. Monday

Hurricane Florence appears to be taking aim at the largest U.S. Marine Corps base on the East Coast.

Camp Lejeune has an extensive beachfront about 50 miles northeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and its well within the National Hurricane Center’s forecast “cone.”

The hurricane’s path was still far from certain Monday. The rapidly intensifying storm could strike a direct and dangerous blow anywhere from the Carolinas to the Mid-Atlantic region later this week, possibly as a fearsome Category 4.

If the center of the hurricane does come ashore in the Wilmington area, some of the strongest winds and rain could strike the sprawling Marine base since much of the worst weather will be in the northeast quadrant of the storm.

Camp Lejeune says in a statement that it’s urging personnel to prepare now, and will open shelters on the base if necessary.

5:15 a.m. Monday

The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Florence is rapidly strengthening and that swells generated by the storm are affecting Bermuda and portions of the U.S. East Coast.

The Miami-based center said in its 5 a.m. ET advisory that Florence was about 625 miles southeast of Bermuda, moving west northwest at 9 mph. An increase in forward speed is expected over the next couple of days.

Its maximum sustained winds are at 105 mph. Drawing energy from the warm water, the now Category 2 storm could be a fearsome Category 4 with winds of 130 mph or more by Tuesday.

Florence is expected to remain an extremely dangerous major hurricane through Thursday.

Hurricane Isaac is holding steady in strength over the Atlantic.

Forecasters say that storm was about 1,230 miles east of the Windward Islands with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph. The storm was moving west at 13 mph.

3 a.m. Monday

The National Hurricane Center says Isaac has become the fifth hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic season.

The Miami-based center said late Sunday that Isaac was about 1,305 miles east of the Windward Islands with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph.

The storm was moving west at 14 mph and expected to accelerate over the next 36 hours.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 10 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles.

A westward motion is forecast to continue through the end of the week, with Isaac expected to move across the Lesser Antilles and into the eastern Caribbean Sea on Wednesday night or Thursday. Weakening is forecast to begin by the middle of the week.

11 p.m. Sunday

Rapidly intensifying Hurricane Florence could strike a direct and dangerous blow anywhere from the Carolinas to the Mid-Atlantic region later this week.

Florence crossed the 74 mph threshold from tropical storm to a hurricane Sunday morning, and by evening its winds were up to 85 mph as the National Hurricane Center warned a hurricane hunter plane found the storm strengthening quickly.

As of 11 p.m. EDT, Florence was centered about 685 miles southeast of Bermuda, moving west at 7 mph. Its maximum sustained winds are at 90 mph.

Drawing energy from the warm water, it could be a fearsome Category 4 with winds of 130 mph or more by Tuesday

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