Hurricane Florence reaches Category 2 strength as it targets the Carolinas

Here's what David Epstein is saying about Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence strengthened into a Category 4 storm at noon Monday as it continues barreling west toward the USA coast. The storm's maximum sustained winds are 65 miles per hour (100 kph) and it is moving west at 14 miles per hour (22 kph).

Projections on Monday show the storm making landfall in the area of Wilmington, N.C., early Friday morning, but with much of SC still under threat of seeing a significant impact. Storms in that part of the ocean usually veer away from the U.S.

With winds of over 105mph, Florence is category 2 hurricane.

The NWS Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu has issued a Tropical Storm Warning for the Hawaiian Islands as Category 1 Hurricane Olivia approaches.

The center of Hurricane Olivia is located near latitude 21.7 north, longitude 148.0 west, about 480 miles ENE of Hilo. Florence now has maximum sustained winds of 115 miles per hour, and gusts up to 140 miles per hour, making it a major hurricane capable of doing "devastating" damage.

Forecasters were also tracking two more storms further out in the Atlantic, with Tropical Storm Isaac expected to become a hurricane later on Sunday as it barreled toward the Caribbean.

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A high pressure system building to the northwest is expected to steer Florence over the next few days across the Atlantic as it picks up speed. Rivers are high, and the storm will be moving slowly when it arrives, exacerbating the situation, Rossi told USA TODAY. "Florence could dump a foot of rain in places that cannot handle it, making for a very scary flooding situation in some areas".

Residents as far north as Virginia were warned that Florence posed an increasing risk of generating a life-threatening coastal storm surge, as well as flooding from heavy rainfall should the slow-moving storm stall over the southeast. It was on track to move between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Wednesday, the NHC said.

The hurricane will pass through Bermuda before hitting the East Coast. One high altitude jet, nicknamed Gonzo, has been flying through the storm to collect information over the weekend. "On the forecast track, Isaac should move across the Lesser Antilles and into the eastern Caribbean Sea on Thursday", the NHC said.

Landfall somewhere in the Carolinas will be Thursday evening, possibly as a Category 4 storm. This west-southwest motion is expected to continue through Tuesday night. But small storms tend to grow and shrink more rapidly than large storms. None of the hurricanes now pose a threat to the Cayman Islands.

Florence strengthened to a Category 3 storm Monday morning, and continues its strengthening early this week.

This system will increase rain chances in Texas through the week.

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