Large swells could be generated and cause damage in some parts of the state, which survived brushes with hurricanes Hector and Lane in recent weeks.
"Interests in the southeastern and mid-Atlantic states should monitor the progress of Florence".
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper also urged his state's residents to get ready, noting the storm already was generating swelling waves and risky currents along the coast. Since reliable record-keeping began more than 150 years ago, North Carolina has been hit by only one Category 4 hurricane: Hazel, with 130 miles per hour winds, in 1954.
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. Most models say it should weaken but they have one that says it will grow into a major hurricane in the Caribbean, which will be something oil traders are watching very closely.
Oosterwyk was gathering important papers including tax documents from her store on Monday, and said she planned to drive 240km (150 miles) inland to Cary to ride the storm out.
"There is an increasing risk of life-threatening impacts from Florence: storm surge at the coast, freshwater flooding from a prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall inland and damaging hurricane-force winds", a 5 a.m. advisory said.
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Tropical storm force winds could begin along the coast Wednesday evening and have the potential to impact the Triangle. "So making sure you have a flashlight, a radio - battery-powered or hand crank - first aid kit, and of course your emergency contacts", said Maribel Street, Emergency Communications Center. Florence was gaining strength in the warm waters of the Atlantic and expected to make landfall sometime Friday morning. Troops have received ready to deploy orders for Virginia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Officials in SC reversed the flow of traffic on some highways so that all major roads led away from the sea to speed evacuations. It will then turn north-northwest on Wednesday and Thursday.
The center of the hurricane was forecast to move between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday and approach the southeastern coast of the U.S. on Thursday as a Category 3 storm or higher, according to the hurricane center.
The Navy planned to send ships from the Hampton Roads area of Virginia out to sea.
The hurricane roared from a Category 1 (90 mph) to a Category 4 (130 mph) in just 13 hours, an extremely rapid intensification, Colorado State University meteorologist Phil Klotzbach said.
Florence is now projecting hurricane-force winds (74 mph and higher) up to 30 miles from its center. "Due to these conditions, Superintendent David Hallac is strongly urging all beach visitors to stay out of the Atlantic Ocean until unsafe conditions subside".