(Updated) Delaware, Maryland officials eye path of Hurricane Florence

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(Updated) Delaware, Maryland officials eye path of Hurricane Florence

Emergency officials in the USA state of North Carolina are warning people to finish their preparations for Hurricane Florence on Wednesday before the storm arrives with life-threatening rainfall, storm surge and wind.

Hurricane Florence, which was upgraded to a Category 4 storm Monday, is expected to make landfall somewhere near North Carolina and SC late Thursday or early Friday. Jeff Byard of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) invoked a former boxing champion to warn residents that it would bring "a Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast".

The National Hurricane Center's storm surge unit has a map tool that people can use to zoom in and see what could happen to their community depending on the strength of the storm.

That is causing the so called "cone of uncertainty" to expand. In South Carolina today, about 750 National Guard members were expected on duty.

By 11am Eastern time (11pm HKT) on Monday, Florence was about 1,240 miles (2,000 kilometres) east-southwest of Cape Fear, North Carolina, and was a Category 4, the second-strongest on the Saffir-Simpson scale, the NHC said.

James City County officials urge residents to remain informed about the approaching storm by signing up for alerts at www.jccalert.org. Hurricane conditions are expected to reach the Carolinas on Friday, says the National Hurricane Center, but tropical force winds are expected to show up late Wednesday or Thursday morning.

But how exactly do scientists know how close the storm is and where it's headed?

While a statement from Ralph Northam, Virginia Governor, added that it could be the "most significant hurricane event in decades" before warning of "catastrophic inland flood, high winds and power outages".

While a man who gave his name as Joe, a contractor from Carolina, admitted he was "scared" but said he had survived storms before and was determined to make it through this one.

Forecasters said Florence could become an extremely risky major hurricane sometime Monday and remain that way for days.

The hurricane could inundate low-lying islands off the coast of North Carolina, like the Outer Banks and other barrier islands, according to the NHC.

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for... Upon immediate landfall, the threats are you standard hurricane threats - storm surge, strong winds, tornadoes.

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