Four States Declare State of Emergency as Florence Becomes Category 4 Hurricane and Over 1 Million are Ordered to Evacuate

More than 1 million people in the southeast United States faced mandatory evacuation orders as Hurricane Florence neared Category 5 strength Tuesday.

Florence was upgraded twice Monday, from Category 3 to 4, prompting evacuation orders in coastal areas of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Remembering the historic storms that ravaged the American Gulf Coast and Puerto Rico last year, residents boarded up their homes, formed long lines at gas stations and emptied the shelves of hardware stores and supermarkets. Officials warned not to underestimate the threat the storm poses.

The size of hurricane-force winds doubled over 12 hours from 30 to 60 mph, the National Hurricane Center said Monday afternoon. The wind field is expected to keep growing, which will increase the storm surge and inland wind threats, the service said in a statement.

“None of the guidance suggest that Florence has peaked in intensity, and this is supported by a continuation of a low-shear environment, and even warmer waters over he next 36 hours.

Thus, the intensity forecast is raised from the previous one, bringing Florence close to Category 5 strength tomorrow,” NHS said.

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SOURCE: Jay Croft, Emanuella Grinberg, Kaylee Hartung and Paul P. Murphy