Hurricane Florence Today: Path, Tracker, Models, Landfall Prediction, Evacuations Zones, NOAA Latest Forecast

Hurricane Florence, now a Category 4 storm, is rapidly getting stronger and remains on a path to deliver a dangerous hit to the East Coast next week, with possible landfall and "life-threatening impact" anywhere from the Carolinas to the Mid-Atlantic, according to the latest update Monday from the National Hurricane Center.

Florence would likely be a Category 3 or 4 hurricane at landfall, forecasters said.

Coastal areas, from Charleston, South Carolina, to Norfolk, Virginia, should be on alert for a possible direct hit, and everyone inland from the Carolinas through the Mid-Atlantic states will likely face the force of Florence's flooding rains and winds. Hurricane Florence could deliver "exceptionally heavy" rainfall inland into Carolinas and the Mid-Atlantic, forecasters said.

The storm surge, wind and rain impact at landfall could be severe, too, since Hurricane Florence is expected to become a major Category 4 storm by Tuesday—and it will likely continue gathering strength as it travels over warm waters while encountering a favorable upper-level environment.

"These conditions are expected to lead to significant strengthening during the next 12 to 24 hours, and Florence is forecast to be a very powerful major hurricane on its approach to the southeastern United States," the National Hurricane Center said Monday.

The latest Florence National Hurricane Center models show the storm making landfall in North Carolina, around the South Carolina-North Carolina border as a major hurricane—possibly one of the strongest storms to ever hit the region. But the Mid-Atlantic, particularly Virginia, remains at risk for a direct hit as the track path sharpens in the coming days.

"There is an increasing risk of life-threatening impacts from Florence: storm surge at the coast, freshwater flooding from a prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall event inland, and damaging hurricane-force winds," the National Hurricane Center said Monday.

"While it is too soon to determine the exact timing, location, and magnitude of these impacts, interests at the coast and inland from South Carolina into the mid-Atlantic region should closely monitor the progress of Florence, ensure they have their hurricane plan in place, and follow any advice given by local officials."

Hurricane watches and warnings will likely be issued today, since tropical storm winds could reach the coast as early as Wednesday. Residents and visitors are urged to study evacuation routes and zones (see below) in anticipation of the storm.

Here's everything you need to know about the latest on Hurricane Florence, including path, tracker, models, landfall prediction, evacuation zones and routes, and the very latest National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Hurricane Center forecast.

Where is Hurricane Florence Right now?

On Monday, as of 5 a.m. EDT, Florence was centered about 625 miles southeast of Bermuda, moving due west at 9. Florence's maximum sustained winds are at 105 miles per hour.

Florence Path, Tracker Projection

The National Hurricane Center said Hurricane Florence's current path was west-northwestward, and that a high-pressure ridge, building "to the north and northwest of Florence, was expected to steer the hurricane west-northwestward to northwestward at a much faster forward speed over the southwest Atlantic during the next few days.

"After that time, a building ridge over the Ohio Valley is expected to cause a gradual reduction in the forward speed of the cyclone as it approaches the southeastern United States coastline."

That likely takes Florence on a path toward the Carolinas, and it will begin to turn a bit north at landfall, tracking to inland North Carolina Friday while thrashing the region with debilitating rainfall.

Latest Models

Florence is still on track to hit the North Carolina coast, close to the South Carolina border, in the latest forecast, but among the multiple models used for hurricane forecasting, including GFS and European, there are more Florence possibilities, including a shift north toward Cape Hatteras or Virginia Beach, Virginia. The National Hurricane Center said not to focus on the "exact" track four and five days out, since conditions could shift the hurricane this way or that. Also, its swath and impact is expected to be wide, so any place in the cone area would have a major impact.

Landfall Timing Prediction

Again, the exact location for landfall could change and those along the East Coast up to the Mid-Atlantic should be on alert, forecasters said. But as of Monday, the National Hurricane Center showed Florence making a direct hit in North Carolina, near the South Carolina border, in the overnight hours Thursday or early Friday morning. The latest forecast cone shows a swath of possible landfall up to Virginia, however, so it will need to be carefully monitored there.

Tropical storm conditions could arrive on the East Coast by Wednesday, forecasters said, with tropical storm winds reaching the coast by Thursday.

Hurricane Evacuation Zones/Routes

No evacuations have been ordered for Hurricane Florence as of yet, but that is likely to change. Officials advise to go ahead and get familiar with evacuation zones and routes. You can find more information for states at the impending threat from Hurricane Florence below.

* South Carolina hurricane evacuation routes (simply enter your address or the address of your desired location)

* North Carolina hurricane evacuation routes

* Georgia hurricane evacuation routes

* Jacksonville, Florida hurricane evacuation routes

The Associated Press reported that "Navy ships off Virginia's coast are getting set to sail out of the path of the powerful hurricane, one North Carolina university has canceled classes and people have begun stocking up on plywood, bottled water and other supplies even with Florence still far out at sea southeast of Bermuda.

"People up and down the densely populated coast were told to be ready for the worst—and not just for a possible direct blow against the coast," the AP reported Monday. "They warned that Florence could slow or stall on or near shore, with some forecasting models showing it could unload a foot or two of rain in places, causing devastating inland flooding."

Hurricane Florence Today: Path, Tracker, Models, Landfall Prediction, Evacuations Zones, NOAA Latest Forecast | U.S.