As Hurricane Florence reaches Category 4 strength, the Midlands is bracing for both high winds and flooding.
The slow-moving storm, the most severe hurricane to threaten the USA mainland this year, was rated a Category 4 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale and located about 845 miles (1,360 km) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, at 1:30 p.m. EDT (1730 GMT), according to the NHC.
According to the North Carolina Emergency Management agency on September 9, there is now an "increasing risk of life-threatening impacts: storm surge at coast, flooding inland ..."
"Everyone in North Carolina needs to keep a close eye on Florence and take steps now to get ready for impacts later this week", Cooper said. Mandatory evacuation orders also were issued for more than 50,000 people from Hatteras and Ocracoke, the southernmost of North Carolina's Outer Banks barrier islands.
Here's another look at the projected path showed the center of the storm hitting near the North Carolina cities of Raleigh, Charlotte, and Greensboro.
The NHC said: "All indications are that Florence will be an extremely risky Category 4 hurricane while it moves over the western Atlantic toward the southeastern United States".
"While our state is not under any current weather advisories, in Florida, we know how quickly a major storm can shift its path and we cannot leave preparedness up to chance". "We expect it to be a major hurricane when it makes landfall by Thursday night or early Friday". "Due to these conditions, Superintendent David Hallac is strongly urging all beach visitors to stay out of the Atlantic Ocean until risky conditions subside". "Already we're getting some overwash, the ocean is coming over 12", she said, referring to the islands' main road. SC ordered an estimated 1 million people to evacuate its coast. Such swells can lead to risky surf and rip currents, the NHC warned.
Hurricanes Isaac and Florence continue to pose problems for Caribbean countries
Isaac is a strong tropical storm with 60kt sustained winds, now about 675 miles east of the Lesser Antilles. In the Pacific, Olivia became a tropical storm again on a path to hit the Hawaiian islands early Wednesday.
"As we have seen with hurricanes in most recent years, such as Lane in Hawaii earlier this summer and Harvey last year in Texas, feet of rain can fall when these tropical storms stall", Sosnowski said.
"The greatest threat is from tropical force winds".
The hurricane center's description of a Category 4 hurricane begins with "catastrophic damage will occur".
The 2018 hurricane season has been quiet up to this point, but now there are two more systems developing behind Florence.
The National Hurricane Center warned that it would likely bring devastating storms and floods to those regions.
Cooper also said power outages could be widespread and he encouraged people to be proactive in preparing for stretches with no electricity.
The US Navy added that it was sending almost 30 ships from Virginia to sea in order to avoid damage.
By 11 p.m. Sunday, Florence was moving across the Atlantic Ocean at about 7 miles per hour, and it was almost a Category 2 hurricane, with peak winds of 90 miles per hour.