Mike Sprayberry, director of the state Division of Emergency Management, said the storm could have statewide impacts, from storm surge and high winds along the coast to flooding inland.
The NHC said the vast storm had maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour, reaching up to 125 miles from its centre, as it tracked west-northwestward across the western Atlantic.
As Hurricane Florence grows stronger, meteorologists say it could hit the Carolinas later this week.
The entire population of Hatteras Island, just off hte North Carolina coast, were ordered to evacuate by noon EST Monday, with other swathes of the state ordered to comply with the same order by 7am Tuesday.
According to the NHC advisory, Hurricane Florence is now located 575 miles (925 km) south-southeast of Bermuda and 1,230 miles (1,985 km) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina.
The Charlotte region has a better than 50 percent chance of seeing tropical storm-force winds (between 39 and 73 mph) later this week, according to the latest forecasts from the National Hurricane Center.
Florence has been upgraded to a Category 4 hurricane and is forecast to strike the east coast this week.
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In South Carolina, the price gouging law is now in effect.
Forecasters say the hurricane's strength is expected to fluctuate but it still will be a unsafe storm by the time it reaches the coast of SC or North Carolina on Thursday. All three states have declared states of emergency. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months'.
The U.S. Navy is also taking precautions, with the U.S. Fleet Forces Command ordering almost 30 ships in the Hampton Roads area of the Virginia coast to head out to sea to avoid the storm. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 30 miles from the center; tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 140 miles.
The 2018 hurricane season has been quiet up to this point, but now there are two more systems developing behind Florence.
For Central Florida, Florence will bring significant wave activity along our Atlantic coast, a unsafe high rip current threat, and possible coastal erosion due to the crashing waves.
It's far too early to speculate about potential industry losses for the insurance, reinsurance and ILS sector at this time, but by late Sunday or Monday a clearer picture of the eventual track hurricane Florence will take should have emerged.
Cities in Florence's impact zone that may see winds in excess of 100 miles per hour as of Monday morning. Storms in that part of the ocean usually veer away from the U.S.
No coastal watches or warnings have yet been issued. "With Florence strengthening into a hurricane this morning and continuing to move west, Florida families need to remain alert and remember that storms like this can change course and strengthen at any moment", said Gov. Rick Scott.
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