Hurricane Florence Will Have a "Minimal Impact" on Massachusetts, Forecasters Say

Around one million people have been ordered to evacuate from the SC coast as the state and neighboring North Carolina brace for a hit from Hurricane Florence, the most powerful storm to take aim at the U.S. mainland this year.

Isaac is expected to approach the Lesser Antilles on Thursday as a strong tropical storm or a Category 1 hurricane. The heavier rains that will affect parts of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia near Florence's landfall will not affect Georgia, but rain associated with Florence will move over Georgia during the period. Vessels that can't leave port will prepare by a variety of means, from adding mooring and storm lines to dropping anchor and disconnecting shore power cables.

Where is the hurricane now?

- As of the 11 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Florence has now grown to a Category 4 hurricane not long after growing to a Category 3 storm. It will approach the southeastern United States on Thursday.

The earliest reasonable time that tropical storm force winds will reach the coast of the Carolinas is Wednesday night, but the most likely time is sometime Thursday morning, the hurricane center predicted on Monday.

What else should I know?

The governors of North and SC and Virginia have already declared states of emergency, but winds and flooding caused by Florence could do serious damage even if it remains offshore.

If or when hurricane Florence does make it to the US coastline it could do so as a major hurricane, as intensity forecasts show Florence reaching a higher storm category again.

Larry Hogan said officials were "preparing for the potential of historic, catastrophic and life-threatening flooding".

Gov. Rick Scott released a statement on Monday urging Floridians to be prepared for the unexpected and remain on alert about Hurricane Florence.

The US Navy ordered ships at its major base in Hampton Roads, Virginia, to put to sea, saying "the forecasted destructive winds and tidal surge are too great to keep the ships in port". Some forecasting models show it could unload a foot or two of rain in places, causing devastating inland flooding.

"The last Atlantic hurricane to intensify as rapidly as far north as Florence's current location is Hurricane Humberto (2007)".

Hurricanes have a life cycle, moving from tropical storm to full-on hurricane. With winds of 75 miles per hour, it's expected to strengthen a bit before weakening as it approaches the Lesser Antilles on Thursday and Friday.

Hurricane Helene, was spinning in the Atlantic off West Africa's Cape Verde islands with 85-mph (140-kph) winds on Monday, but did not appear to pose an immediate threat to land.

UNC Wilmington started its "a voluntary evacuation for students" at noon Monday and said on its website that classes will be canceled.

Lining up behind Florence, Isaac was about 1,150 miles (1,855 kilometers) east of the Windward Islands with top winds of 75 mph (120 kph) early Monday, moving west at 14 mph (22 kph).