Florence could rival North Carolina's 1954 'benchmark storm'

Hurricane Florence Is Traveling A Similar Path As A 1933 Storm That Got Very, Very Close To D.C.

The storm is moving northwest at 5 miles per hour and has maximum sustained winds close to 90 miles per hour.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said he had asked President Donald Trump for a federal disaster declaration ahead of the storm.

Tuesday morning's model looks different than Monday's runs in that a low pressure system that had been right around Richmond has now moved south of the city.

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.

Hurricane Florence, Hurricane Isaac, Hurricane Helene track in Atlantic Ocean.

Lining up behind Florence, Isaac was about 1,150 miles east of the Windward Islands with top winds of 75 mph early Monday, accelerating on a path to cross into the lower Caribbean Thursday as a weak hurricane.

Impacts from high wind, storm surge and inland river flooding could be "extreme", according to the weather service, especially considering the storm could stall over North Carolina, spinning bands of rain that could total 20 inches in some locations. Conditions should improve late in the weekend. Florence was a Category 4 storm late afternoon Monday.

The state has issued mandatory evacuations.

Gov. Henry McMaster says he's preparing the state for winds as powerful as Hurricane Hugo, which plowed inland almost 30 years ago and caused devastating damage.

Forecasters expect the storm to linger over the Carolinas once it makes landfall, dumping rain, National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham told the Associated Press.

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"I think this is very Harvey-esque", said University of Miami hurricane expert Brian McNoldy.

Henry McMaster lifted the mandatory evacuation order for Beaufort, Jasper and Colleton counties Tuesday morning.

Hurricane Florence as seen from the International Space Station on Monday, Sept. 10, 2018.

In North Carolina, officials already had ordered some 250,000 residents and visitors to begin evacuating the Outer Banks barrier islands.

Hugo killed 27 people in SC and caused more than $9 billion in damage, which was the costliest hurricane on record at the time.

"If the hurricane miraculously, overnight, decides to go somewhere else, we can take corrective action", he said, saying it was easier to "stand down" state resources than have them "stand up" at a moment's notice. The storm is now about 950 miles from the Carolina coast line, but moving in that direction at about 15 mph.

The U.S. Navy said it was sending almost 30 ships from coastal Virginia out of port to ride out the storm. In such winds, downed trees and power outages are common, and well-built homes can suffer heavy damage, the NHC says.

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.

Oosterwyk was gathering tax documents and other important papers from her store on Monday, and said she planned to drive 150 miles inland to ride out the storm in the town of Cary.

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