The current upper air pattern indicates Florence will probably move west into NY and Pennsylvania as it weakens.
In North Carolina, evacuations have been ordered in Dare County, which includes the Outer Banks and Hatteras, a popular vacation spot, as well as other coastal counties, according to The Richmond Times-Dispatch.
"Where should residents of "Zone A" evacuate to?"
Should Florence make landfall as a Category 4, it would be the first Category 4 hurricane since Hazel in 1954 to hit North Carolina.
It could weaken on Thursday, according to current predictions, but officials cautioned Florence will most probably remain "an extremely unsafe major hurricane through landfall".
Florence's maximum sustained winds are now clocking in at 209km/h (130 mph) with higher gusts expected to come, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
Jeff Stern, coordinator for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, said that Virginians should expect the storm to last more than just one day. And the longer a hurricane hovers over land, the more rain it dumps in the same place. The remnants of Florence and the rain will likely not be completed kicked out until sometime early next week. As the devices fall toward the ocean, they transmit critical readings on wind direction and speed, air pressure, temperature and humidity, from positions throughout the hurricane. The wind damage from a category 3 or 4 hurricane is catastrophic. Panovich forecasts the storm will reach close to Category 4 status with the potential of 140 miles per hour winds.
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At this point DC is mainly preparing for periods of heavy rain, starting Thursday night and continuing into Friday, say officials.
"We can not expect this storm to blow over in a matter of hours", Cooper said, noting rainfall will be measured in feet instead of inches in some areas. While wind damage is still ordinarily covered, insurers that were stung by storms such as Sandy in 2012, which swamped NY and New Jersey, have inserted clauses in their policies that limit coverage and set high deductibles, particularly when storms reach hurricane status. He said there will be more of a wind issue with Florence compared to Matthew, but rainfall could be around the same if not more. Some models are predicting more than 9 feet of water to pile up on the western end of those waterways.
Storm surges such as those would be the equivalent in Chicago of lifting the level of Lake Michigan 15 to 20 feet, while bombarding the shoreline with 20-plus foot waves on top of all that water. "This rainfall may produce life-threatening flash flooding".
There is no out to sea solution. "And we here in North Carolina are bracing for a hard hit", Cooper told a news conference.
The worst damage will occur to the north of where the hurricane makes landfall.
"Interests elsewhere in the southeastern and mid-Atlantic states should monitor the progress of Florence".