Florence pummels the Carolinas

By Brian Ries, Veronica Rocha, Meg Wagner, Paul P. Murphy and Eric Levenson, CNN
8:11 a.m. ET, September 17, 2018
12:16 p.m. ET, September 10, 2018

Hurricane Florence is now a Category 4 storm

Hurricane Florence grew Monday to a Category 4 storm, according to the National Hurricane Center. 

The hurricane was a Category 3 storm earlier Monday, but it strengthened to a Category 4 storm. The hurricane now has maximum sustained winds of 130 mph.

Even further strengthening is possible over the next several days.

 

11:36 a.m. ET, September 10, 2018

North Carolina asks Trump for federal disaster declaration

From CNN's Keith Allen

NC Gov. Roy Cooper urged people on Sunday to prepare for Florence as potential for direct East Coast impact increased.

Speaking at a press conference Monday morning, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said he has asked President Trump for a federal disaster declaration for the state ahead of Hurricane Florence. 

The federal declaration would free up federal assistance and supplement state and local efforts in providing emergency response, Cooper says.

Gov. Cooper also says he spoke with FEMA Director Brock Long earlier on Monday.

He also said people in its path should prepare to be without power for a while.

“When it comes to utilities, families need to be ready,” Gov. Cooper said. “They need to prepare to be without power for a while, that’s why we’re urging people to have their emergency kits and prepare for this.”

Gov. Cooper foresees three separate threats from Hurricane Florence: an initial surge of ocean water along the coast, followed by strong winds, and ultimately, inland flooding. “North Carolina is taking Hurricane Florence seriously, and you should too,” Cooper said.

Cooper also expects other coastal communities to follow the lead of Dare County and issue mandatory evacuation orders for residents and visitors either Monday or Tuesday.

11:10 a.m. ET, September 10, 2018

Here's what Hurricane Florence looks like to astronauts in space

From CNN's Paul Murphy

Astronaut Ricky Arnold, who is currently hurtling around Earth on the International Space Station, looked out his window this morning and saw Hurricane Florence spinning over the Atlantic.

A few moments later, he tweeted, Hurricanes Isaac and the outer bands of Helene were also visible. Follow him at @astro_ricky.

See the photos:

11:08 a.m. ET, September 10, 2018

JUST IN: Florence is now Category 3 hurricane

From CNN's Dave Hennen

Florence now has maximum sustained winds of 115mph, and gusts to 140mph according to the National Hurricane Center. 

This makes Florence a CAT 3, major hurricane, and further strengthening is forecast.

Florence is likely to be a direct threat to the U.S. East Coast late this week.

9:56 a.m. ET, September 10, 2018

Hurricane Florence on track to hit East Coast as major storm later this week

From CNN's Jay Croft and Susannah Cullinane

Hurricane Florence has its sights set on North and South Carolina, and if it hits as hard as predicted, the storm will be the most powerful to pound the area in three decades, CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said Monday.

"This storm gets stronger and stronger" and is on its way to a head-on impact on the Carolinas later this week, Myers said.

Water up to 15 feet high will strike the coast, and rainfall inland over the next four to five days could reach 20 inches in some locations, he said.