Florence strengthens to Category 4, takes aim at Carolinas

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Millions of Americans are preparing for what could become one of the most catastrophic hurricanes to hit the Eastern Seaboard in decades, with mandatory evacuations already issued for parts of three East Coast states. "We are with you!" he tweeted Monday afternoon, shortly after South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster ordered the mandatory evacuation of the state's coastline beginning at noon Tuesday.

"This is a serious storm and it's going to effect the entire state", Northam told a news conference.

For many, the challenge could be finding a safe refuge.

Kottlowski is concerned that Florence will slow down and possibly stall near or inland of the coast, potentially leading to a life-threatening flooding situation.

Maximum sustained winds were clocked at 140 miles per hour (220 kph) as it moved west-northwest at 13 miles per hour (20 kph). "[That storm] tracked just west of D.C. and had major impacts on the area", Pallozzi says.

A warm ocean is the fuel that powers hurricanes, and Florence will be moving over waters where temperatures are peaking near 30C, hurricane specialist Eric Blake wrote.

Hurricane Florence has been quickly strengthening Monday and is on route to severely impact the Carolinas at the end of the week.

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At 5:00 pm (2100 GMT), the eye of the storm was 615km/h southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, moving northwest at 26km/h.

Residents of North and SC began evacuating coastal areas on Monday, after Hurricane Florence intensified into a category four storm, stripping supermarket shelves and stocking up on fuel for their cars.

Two other storms were spinning in the Atlantic.

Preparations for Florence come as the Atlantic hurricane season hits its peak.

According to the most recent data from the National Weather Service, Florence is now a category 4 hurricane with 130 miles per hour winds.

Florence is forecast to dump up to 40 inches (one meter) of rain in some areas after it makes landfall in North and SC.

Both Virginia and Maryland have now declared a state of emergency, while the National Park Service is readying itself to deploy a flood levee for the first time across 17th Avenue NW to prevent flooding downtown. It says total rainfall could reach 30 inches in some places, prompting life-threatening flash flooding from SC to Northern Virginia.

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Storm "Florence" promises to be the most powerful in 30 years.

Starting then, all roads on I-26 and Route 501 will be directed away from the coast, he said.

All interests along the coasts of the Southeast and mid-Atlantic are being put on alert for a potential strike from Category 4 Hurricane Florence during the second half of the week.

With "monumental" rainfall totals of up to 40 inches possible, "the rain from Florence may break all-time state records for rainfall from a hurricane or tropical storm", Weather Underground meteorologist Jeff Masters said.

Northam's decision comes after costal communities in North Carolina ordered mandatory evacuations and SC officials ordered an evacuation of their entire coast line.

Jim Craig, David Burke and Chris Rayner load generators as people buy supplies at The Home Depot on Monday, Sept. 10, 2018, in Wilmington, N.C.

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