DIGITAL EXTRA: KSTP Meteorologist Nicole Mitchell Shares Hurricane Hunting Experience

September 12, 2018 06:26 PM

Preparations are intensifying as Hurricane Florence races closer to the East Coast.

Right now the storm is a Category 3, with winds as high as 120 mph.

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For people planning to flee Florence's path, officials say their time is quickly running out.

INTERACTIVE RADAR: Track Hurricane Florence

Georgia is now under a state of emergency, and there is concern the storm could shift more southward than first expected.

Already more than 1.7 million people in North and South Carolina and Virginia are under warnings to evacuate the coast.

KSTP Meteorologist Nicole Mitchell has firsthand experience tracking hurricanes. When she is not forecasting for 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, she is a hurricane hunter with the Air Force Reserve.

RELATED: 'Monster' Hurricane Florence Nears Carolina Coast

She flies into the eye of the storm, and her observations help the National Hurricane Center determine the track and strength of the storm.

"Everything we do is in coordination with the National Hurricane Center, and as I said, once a storm gets cut loose to the coastline we'll have flights in there for six-hour periods and then no more than a break of three hours and another flight in," Mitchell said.

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