1:57 update: Hurricane Florence could be most powerful storm to hit eastern seaboard since 2004
Mother Jones is reporting that should Hurricane Florence maintain its current intensity it will be the most powerful storm to hit the eastern seaboard since Hurricane Jeanne swept into Florida in 2004.
The National Hurricane Centre is warns: “A life-threatening storm surge is likely along portions of the coastlines of South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.
“Life-threatening freshwater flooding is likely from a prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall event.
“Damaging hurricane-force winds are likely along portions of the coasts of South Carolina and North Carolina.”
Meanwhile 30 US Navy ships have headed out to sea, away from their base in Norfolk Virginia, to escape the incoming storm.
0.36am update: Hurricane Florence could become Category 5 before landfall warn experts
A number of leading meteorological experts have warned that Hurricane Florence could reach Category 5 strength before hitting the eastern US seaboard.
Dr Ventricle, who has a PhD in Tropical Meteorology, warned: “We are bit seeing the potential for major Hurricane Florence to achieve a Category 5 intensity prior to landfalling across the Carolinas.
“If correct devastating news.”
A similar assessment was made by Brian McNoldy, a top University of Miami academic who specialises in atmospheric science.
He posted on Twitter: “Florence will be a Category 5 hurricane soon.
“It has that ominous look of tropical cyclone perfection”.
The National Hurricane Centre is warning that Florence has become “an extremely dangerous hurricane.”
11.38pm update: Evacuation ordered in Virginia
Ralph Northam, Governor of Virginia, has mandated the evacuation of Zone A, the lowest-lying areas of coastal Virginia and the Eastern Shore at 08.00am on Tuesday morning.
Hurricane Florence is currently a category 4 storm, and is expected to strengthen further.
It currently has maximum sustained winds of 140 miles per hour, with hurricane force winds extending up to 40 miles from the centre of the storm.
According to the National Hurricane Centre: “Florence is expected to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane through Thursday.”