'Harvey of the East Coast:' Florence's worst impact could be catastrophic flooding

POWERFUL Hurricane Florence was tracking towards the US East Coast Tuesday, prompting authorities to order upwards of one million people to evacuate the path of the extremely risky storm forecasters said could soon intensify. 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.

The 1st effects were already being seen on barrier islands Monday as risky rip currents and seawater flowed over the state highway.

My people just informed me that this is one of the worst storms to hit the East Coast in many years.

Kottlowski is concerned that Florence will slow down and possibly stall near or inland of the coast, potentially leading to a life-threatening flooding situation.

It was moving west at 13 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center.

"Florence is quickly becoming a powerful hurricane", a hurricane specialist wrote.

People trying to escape Florence in SC were coming across the state border to Georgia, and hotel rooms and campgrounds were getting booked fast, CBS affiliate WGCL-TV reported.

"Florence has rapidly intensified into an extremely unsafe hurricane", Blake wrote Monday evening, predicting that the hurricane's top sustained winds would approach the 157 miles per hour (253 kph) threshold for a wost-case Category 5 scenario.

The most recent Category 4 storm to hit the US was Hurricane Maria a year ago, which plowed into eastern Puerto Rico with winds of 155 miles per hour.

Two other storms also are churning in the Atlantic.

As Florence approaches the coast, it is forecast to strengthen.

Hurricane Florence neared Category 5 strength on Monday, forcing evacuations in coastal areas in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. SC governor Henry McMaster also suspended his campaign and asked President Donald Trump for a federal emergency declaration.

Storm surge and hurricane watches may be issued early Tuesday for portions of southeastern USA states, the NHC said.

ROY COOPER: The forecast places North Carolina in the bull's eye of Hurricane Florence, and the storm is rapidly getting stronger.

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

"This latest briefing is part of the president's monitoring of multiple storms that are predicted to affect the U.S.in the coming days", Sanders said in the statement, adding that the White House is in contact with governor's offices in all the areas affected, including the Carolinas.

There have only been 26 category 4 hurricanes to ever make landfall in the us since 1850. Cooper also declared the State of Emergency due to the potential of flooding, road closures and landslides impact on the state from Hurricane Florence.

Some meteorologists are already predicting that Florence "could be one of the worst storms in USA history".

The Atlantic hurricane season officially began June 1, but cooler water and higher wind shear - winds moving at different speeds and directions - early in the season are less than ideal for tropical systems to gain and maintain strength.

Classes were canceled starting on Monday at the Wilmington campus of the University of North Carolina.

Vanessa Coleman