Hurricane Florence is picking up steam as it approaches the strength of a Category 5 storm.
The storm is expected to threaten the Carolinas and Virginia. All three states have already declared states of emergency and 1.5 million people have been told to evacuate.
The president has given FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security permission to organize disaster relief efforts for "the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population,” according to the White House.
The storm rapidly intensified to Category 4 status Monday with sustained winds of 140 mph. It’s expected to make landfall Thursday into Friday.
Officials say the storm could be reminiscent of Hurricane Harvey, which hit Texas in August 2017. Some are calling the hurricane the “East Coast Harvey” as it is passing through warmer than usual waters, helping it grow. The storm is forecast to potentially stall once it makes landfall, showering the area in torrential amounts of rain.
The same thing happened last year with Hurricane Harvey.
"I think this is very Harvey-esque," said Brian McNoldy, University of Miami hurricane expert, told Fox News. "Normally, a landfalling tropical cyclone just keeps on going inland, gradually dissipating and raining itself out. But on rare occasions, the steering patterns can line up such that a storm slips into a dead zone between troughs and ridges."