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Tuesday updates: Possible local impact from Hurricane Florence

Florence is expected to make landfall in the Carolinas late Thursday or early Friday.

Rob Quinn boards up Lagerheads Tavern in Wrightsville Beach, N.C. as they prepare for Hurricane Florence.
Rob Quinn boards up Lagerheads Tavern in Wrightsville Beach, N.C. as they prepare for Hurricane Florence.Read more(Ken Blevins /The Star-News via AP)

Hurricane Florence is barreling toward the East Coast as it moves on a probable path toward the Carolinas. Here's the latest of what we know.

• Florence is a Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 140 mph and higher gusts. Abnormally warm ocean waters — a feature that has become more common with climate change — have helped energize the storm.

• The current track puts it on a course that will make landfall along the coast of the Carolinas Friday morning. By then, the storm is projected to be a Category 3 hurricane with winds about 120 mph. Forecasters say the storm could stall after landfall — much like Hurricane Harvey did in Texas last year — and cause disastrous flooding in parts of the Carolinas and possibly Virginia.

• For southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey — where the ground is already saturated from recent storms — the heaviest precipitation from Florence may stay south, largely sparing the area. We may even see sunshine. But the forecast could change, depending on where Florence goes after making landfall. Right now models show it stalling over or near the Carolinas. If the remnants track north after that, we could see rainfall early next week.

• The governors of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland have declared states of emergency in advance of the storm. More than one million people have been ordered to evacuate from the coastal areas of North and South Carolina and Virginia. Hurricane and storm surge watches have been issued for the coasts of North and South Carolina.

>> READ MORE: Are you fleeing to the Philadelphia area to wait out Hurricane Florence? We want to hear from you

• Amtrak says it will cancel some trains through the South starting Wednesday and airlines are waiving fees to re-book possibly affected flights.

• Farther out in the Atlantic, Isaac has been downgraded to a tropical storm and Helene remains a Category 2 hurricane. Isaac's probable path has it targeting the Caribbean, while is turning north to become a fish-killer in the North Atlantic.

• Information on emergency preparedness can be found here.