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State of Emergency has been declared by North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

Hurricane Florence is now a Category 2 storm and is still forecast to slam into the southeastern United States. Since reliable record-keeping began more than 150 years ago, North Carolina has only been hit by one Category 4 hurricane: Hazel, with 210 km/h winds in 1954.

"Action today can avoid losses due to Florence", he said.

Naval Station Norfolk, the largest naval installation in the world, is preparing to send ships away from bases to weather the storm out at sea.

The National Hurricane Center warns that Florence could soon cause a coastal surge that includes flooding before the storm is projected for USA landfall (probably) on Thursday. Damaging winds, floods, high surf and storm surge are still possible.

"Florence is a threat well beyond our coast", Cooper said.

As of 11 p.m., the National Hurricane Center said the storm was about 1,085 miles east-southeast of Bald Head Island.

Meteorologist Chad Meyers told viewers that "this storm gets stronger and stronger" as it approaches the Carolinas, and this coming weekend could be a disastrous one for millions of residents.

As meteorologist Stu Ostro of The Weather Channel reports via Twitter, since 1851, only four Category 4 hurricanes have made landfall north of Florida on the East Coast.

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A warm ocean is the fuel that powers hurricanes, and Florence will be moving over waters where temperatures are peaking near 85 degrees, hurricane specialist Eric Blake wrote.

Virginia, and North and SC have declared states of emergency and authorities as far north as New Jersey are warning people along the coast to take precautions, including for the possibility of flooding rains far inland. The Weather Channel warned of a "disastrous" level of flooding for parts of the area.

The US Navy added that it was sending almost 30 ships from Virginia to sea in order to avoid damage. We encourage anyone in the path of these storms to prepare themselves and to heed the warnings of State and Local officials. Florence was moving west-northwest at 13 miles per hour and had maximum sustained winds of 140 miles per hour.

Meanwhile, forecasters urged residents to complete such storm preparations by the end of Wednesday, saying some impacts from Florence were nearly a certainty by Thursday.

Freshwater flooding is extremely likely once the storm makes landfall, possibly as far inland as West Virginia.

Two other hurricanes are now churning in the Atlantic Ocean.

Unsafe storms are also threatening parts of the U.S.in the Pacific Ocean.

The latest forecast from the National Hurricane Centre said the storm winds have reached 75mph (120kph), which means it is now at hurricane strength. "These tropical storms and hurricanes are very risky". If Florence slows to a crawl just off the coast, it could bring torrential rain to the Appalachian mountains and as far away as West Virginia, causing flash floods, mudslides and other risky conditions.

About an hour after the Category 3 upgrade came another - to Category 4.