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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Hurricane Florence has gotten bigger and more organized as it makes its way toward the US eastern seaboard.

At 11 p.m., the center of the Category 4 hurricane was about 670 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina.

Florence is moving toward the west-northwest near 17 mph.

CLICK HERE TO SEE PHOTOS OF THE STORM

A motion toward the west-northwest and northwest is expected through early Thursday.

Florence is expected to slow down considerably by late Thursday into Friday.

On the forecast track, the center of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas through Wednesday, and approach the coast of North Carolina or South Carolina in the hurricane warning area on Thursday and Friday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 140 mph with higher gusts.

Florence is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

Strengthening is forecast through Wednesday.

While some weakening is expected on Thursday, Florence is forecast to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane through landfall.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for…
* South Santee River South Carolina to Duck North Carolina
* Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, including the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for…
* Edisto Beach South Carolina to South Santee River South Carolina
* North of Duck North Carolina to the North Carolina/Virginia border

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for…
* South Santee River South Carolina to Duck North Carolina
* Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for…
* Edisto Beach South Carolina to South Santee River South Carolina
* North of Duck North Carolina to the North Carolina/Virginia border

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for…
* North of the North Carolina/Virginia border to Cape Charles Light Virginia
* Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND

STORM SURGE:  The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline.

The water has the potential to reach the following heights above ground if peak surge occurs at the time of high tide.

Cape Fear to Cape Lookout, including the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers…9-13 ft

North Myrtle Beach to Cape Fear…6-9 ft

Cape Lookout to Ocracoke Inlet…6-9 ft

South Santee River to North Myrtle Beach…4-6 ft

Ocracoke Inlet to North Carolina/Virginia Border…4-6 ft

Edisto Beach to South Santee River…2-4 ft

The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore winds, where the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.

Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over short distances.

For information specific to your area, please see products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast office.

RAINFALL: Florence is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 15 to 25 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 35 inches near the storm’s track over portions of the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic States from late this week into early next week.

This rainfall would produce catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding.

WIND:  Hurricane conditions are expected to reach the coast within the hurricane warning area on Friday.

Winds are expected to first reach tropical storm strength on Thursday, making outside preparations difficult or dangerous.

Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.

SURF:  Swells generated by Florence are affecting Bermuda and portions of the U.S. East Coast.

These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

Please consult products from your local weather office.

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