Hurricane Florence is still a few days from making landfall on the East Coast of the United States, but the powerful storm is churning away in the Atlantic.
As of Tuesday, Florence was a Category 4 storm with sustained wind speeds of 130 miles per hour heading west-northwest at 16 mph, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The strong winds and rain from the storm were the first signs of the storm that were expected to hit first.
Storm surges and rip currents were some of the greatest threats facing the coastline early in the week, prior to the arrival of those heavy rains and strong winds.
Stunning video taken from the International Space Station shows the eye of the storm, with dense fluffy-looking clouds surrounding it. The video, taken Monday morning, shows the storm when its winds were 115 mph. Though winds of that speed still classify it as a major hurricane, Florence was only a Category 3 storm when the video was captured; it has since gained strength to reach the next category.
The clouds are very clearly organized around the eye of the storm, packed densely the closer to the eye they are, dispersing a bit more around the edges of the storm. NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold, who is on board the station, also shared a view of Florence, along with photos of the two other storms brewing in the Atlantic, Isaac and Helene.
Florence was expected to make landfall sometime in the early-morning hours of Friday in the Carolinas with North Carolina likely receiving more of the hit than South Carolina. Winds from the storm could possibly extend as far north as New Jersey and as far south as Florida, predictions from the National Hurricane Center showed.
There were evacuations ordered for parts of the Carolinas as well as in Virginia. There were hurricane watches in effect along the coastline, meaning hurricane conditions were possible within the area in the 48 hours following the watch. Tropical storm warnings were issued for the coastal waters off the Carolinas, meaning the tropical storm conditions were expected in those waters sometime in the 36 hours following when it was issued.
Those in an area expected to see Hurricane Florence should evacuate if asked to by officials and pay close attention to the latest updates and warnings or watches from the National Weather Service.