Florence strengthens 'rapidly,' now powerful Category 4 hurricane

Florence expected to become hurricane, heading to southeast US

The storm has rapidly intensified and reached "major hurricane" classification on Monday morning (with maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour, making it a Category 4), although eyes are also on Isaac and Helene for the future.

In its 11 p.m. Sunday advisory, the National Hurricane Center upgraded Tropical Storm Isaac to a Category 1 hurricane, with winds of almost 75 miles per hour. It will approach the southeastern United States on Thursday.

The hurricane will pose a pretty serious threat to the East Coast and is expected to produce winds of around 140 miles per hour as it makes landfall.

The first effects are already being seen - rip currents have hit beaches, causing seawater to flow over a state highway.

Hurricane Florence is expected to hit the southeastern U.S.as "a large and extremely unsafe hurricane", the National Hurricane Center says, after the storm quickly strengthened on Monday.

"Florence is. expected to remain an extremely unsafe major hurricane through Thursday", the hurricane center warned.

Florence continues to become a better organized storm, with a familiar buzz-saw appearance from satellite shots.

SC ordered an estimated one million people to evacuate its coast today as the state and neighbouring North Carolina brace for Hurricane Florence.

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South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) on Monday ordered the evacuation of every resident who lives on the state's coastline.

The Atlantic hurricane's maximum sustained winds have increased to almost 130 miles per hour (195 kilometers per hour), the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in an advisory issued at noon Eastern Time (1600 GMT).

North Carolina residents similarly need to make their own preparations by stocking up on water, non-perishable foods and batteries, getting medications and important documents in order and clearing debris from their yards, Cooper said.

A National Hurricane Center model showed the Wilmington region being socked with high winds and rain Thursday night and Friday morning.

Communities in North and SC, and Virginia are preparing themselves for the onslaught of Hurricane Florence, which is forecasted to hit hard late Thursday or early Friday (September 13 and 14).

Isaac was a Category 1 hurricane as of Monday morning, located more than 1,200 miles east of the Windward Islands.

Hurricane Isaac is spinning west through the tropical Atlantic Ocean. It has strengthened to a Category 4 a day earlier than predicted.

In addition, in the Pacific, what's now Hurricane Olivia is forecast to approach Hawaii as a tropical storm on Tuesday.

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