Hurricane Florence strengthened early on Monday, packing maximum sustained winds of 105 miles per hour (170 kph), and forecasters warned that it is "expected to become a major hurricane very soon" as it churns toward the U.S. East Coast.
Florence should be a major Category 3 hurricane later Monday morning, and a Category 4 storm, with winds of 140 miles per hour, by Tuesday.
If the center of the hurricane does come ashore in the Wilmington area, some of the strongest winds and rain could strike the sprawling Marine base since much of the worst weather will be in the northeast quadrant of the storm. It will continue to remain an extremely risky major hurricane through Thursday.
WeatherBELL meteorologist Joe Bastardi tells CBN News that Florence will have a comparable impact to the infamous hurricanes Hugo and Hazel.
The hurricane center said it was still too early to predict its exact path.
Cooper said state emergency management officials are working with local and federal agencies to prepare North Carolina for possible impacts from Florence.
Meanwhile a third tropical storm has formed in the eastern Atlantic Ocean.
According to a 5 p.m. update from the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Florence's maximum sustained winds have intensified to 85 miles per hour.
Isaac, previously a tropical storm, strengthened into the fifth hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic season on Sunday, the NHC said.
As for Helene, it is about 305 miles west of the southernmost Cabo Verde Islands and has maximum sustained winds of 85 mph.
According to the North Carolina Emergency Management agency on September 9, there is now an "increasing risk of life-threatening impacts: storm surge at coast, flooding inland ..." They were likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions, according to the NHC.
There are now no coastal watches or warnings in effect. North Carolina and Virginia have taken similar steps.