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Hurricane Florence, 8 pm Monday: Torrential flooding expected statewide

Hurricane Florence, 8 pm Monday: Torrential flooding expected statewide

Hurricane Florence has grown to a potentially catastrophic Category 4 storm Monday as it closed in on North and SC, carrying winds and water that could wreak havoc over a wide stretch of the eastern United States later this week.

Florence has strengthened to a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds near 130 miles per hour, the National Weather Service said at noon Monday, with Beaufort County just south of the storm's forecasted path.

"On the forecast track, the center of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas Tuesday (Sept. 12) and Wednesday (Sept. 13), and approach the coast of North Carolina or SC on Thursday", according to the NHC.

Hurricane Florence is now a Category 4 storm and is "rapidly strengthening" as it heads toward the Carolinas coast, bringing "exceptionally heavy rain", the National Hurricane Center said Monday.

At noon Monday, a mandatory evacuation order was issued for North Carolina's Hatteras Island.

Hyde County officials announced that all Ocracoke Island visitors have been ordered to evacuate starting noon on Monday.

Still mostly centered in the landing area were Wilmington and Myrtle Beach, where the SC governor told everyone to leave starting at noon on Tuesday. "North Carolina is taking Hurricane Florence seriously, and you should too".

Hurricane Florence, carrying winds of up to 130mph as a Category 4 storm, is expected to strengthen and possibly become a Category 5 storm on Tuesday.

More news: Florence turns deadly, unleashing 'catastrophic' floods on Carolinas

Friday Cooper declared a State of Emergency. The National Hurricane Center is predicting in excess of 20 to 30 inches for coastal North Carolina. "Everyone in Virginia needs to prepare". According to the National Hurricane Center, the maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 105 miles per hour with higher gusts. He said that the hurricane could only be captured on a super-wide lens, even from 400 kilometres up. Home Depot and Lowe's activated emergency response centers to get generators, trash bags and bottled water to stores before and after the storm.

More than a million people in the southeast United States faced mandatory evacuation orders.

In Wilmington, Anita Harrell said she waited 90 minutes at a Home Depot on Tuesday to get plywood, intending to board up her home and business. That's prompted criticism from some on social media who've said they faced change fees and fare differences as they attempted to change flights to deal with the storm.

Jones urged Chatham County residents to continue to monitor Florence and be generally prepared for hurricanes with a hurricane kit, shelter-in-place supplies and an evacuation plan.

"We got our football team to SC and the hurricane had just come through", Hamrick said.

Melody Rawson evacuated her first-floor apartment in Myrtle Beach and arrived at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia, to camp for free with three other adults, her disabled son, two dogs, and a pet bird.

Lining up behind Florence, Isaac was about 1,150 miles (1,855 kilometers) east of the Windward Islands with top winds of 75 mph (120 kph) early Monday, moving west at 14 mph (22 kph).