Hurricane Florence: Teams monitor Category 4 storm

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And International Space Station astronaut Ricky Arnold has also posted several pics to social media, showing an ominous mass of swirling clouds.

Cooper and his counterparts in neighboring SC and Virginia ordered about 1 million people to evacuate coastal homes, including along the Outer Banks barrier islands.

In a 8 a.m. update, National Hurricane Center forecasters said sustained winds dropped slightly to 130 miles per hour but restrengthening is expected to begin later today, with the storm likely to make landfall along the North or SC coast by Thursday.

It's not just North Carolina that is "taking Hurricane Florence seriously", either, in SC and Virginia residents have also declared states of emergency following the updates on the storm.

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

According to USA Today, the National Hurricane Centre has said Florence is set to hit the US East Coast later this week, possibly as early as Wednesday.

He added: "It's an extremely unsafe, life-threatening, historic hurricane. the forecast shows Florence stalling over North Carolina, bringing days and days of rain". Hurricane force winds start at 74 miles per hour.

If a Category 5 hits the southeastern US, "a high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse", said the NHC. This could lead to massive flooding in many of North Carolina's inlets.

Once the storm makes landfall, the threats are far from over. This pattern will lead to catastrophic conditions in South and North Carolina as well as Virginia.

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A wider area will be impacted as Florence moves inland.

Many newcomers have moved to the coast in the almost 19 years since the last strong hurricane - Floyd - threatened the area.

"All indications are that the storm will slow down and just crawl or meander over the inland sections and the coastal Piedmont", Weather Channel hurricane expert Bryan Norcross said.

Anything special about Hurricane Florence?

The storm is now around 650 km south of Bermuda and is moving at 26 km/h.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Goes-East weather-monitoring satellite used its lightning mapping technology for a video showing Florence, Tropical Storm Isaac and Hurricane Helene as they traveled across the Atlantic on Tuesday. The biggest risks from Hurricane Florence may not come from wind, but from the associated rainfall.

"I don't want to be an alarmist, but as we look at storms of the past, there are parts of what we see in Florence that could fall out that way", Barnes said. Florence could be the worst hurricane to hit the Carolinas in over 60 years since category 4 hurricane "Hazel" struck in 1954. The forecast is for landfall to occur overnight Thursday into Friday morning.

When asked in a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Sheriff P.J. Tanner said the school district must first evaluate how many teachers and staff evacuated ahead of the order.

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