Hurricane Florence strengthens to Category 4, SC coast to be evacuated

first_imgABC News(NEW YORK) — Hurricane Florence has quickly strengthened to a powerful Category 4 storm Monday as it takes aim at the East Coast, packing maximum sustained winds near 130 mph.The storm will likely make landfall Thursday and governors of several Southeast states are urging residents to prepare.About 1 million people have been ordered to flee the entire South Carolina coast beginning Tuesday.“It’s going to be inconvenient but we don’t want to risk one South Carolina life in this hurricane,” South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said Monday.The storm threatens to bring devastating storm surge, powerful winds and catastrophic flooding from Virginia to the Carolinas.Rainfall may reach 2 feet in some areas.Inland flooding could move into the central and western Carolinas and even West Virginia.“We here in North Carolina are bracing for a hard hit,” North Carolina Gov. Ray Cooper said at a news conference Monday.The state has issued mandatory evacuations.“This storm is strong and it’s getting stronger,” Cooper said.The state is “taking Hurricane Florence seriously and you should too. Get ready now,” he said. “The best safety plan is preparation and common sense.”An evacuation order for visitors and residents on North Carolina’s Hatteras Island is in effect while those in other parts of Dare County will be under an evacuation order beginning Tuesday.In Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan is urging residents to be prepared for “possible catastrophic and life threatening flooding.”“Start now, and prepare your families and your homes,” he said Monday.President Donald Trump exhorted residents to follow officials’ instructions.“The Storms in the Atlantic are very dangerous. We encourage anyone in the path of these storms to prepare themselves and to heed the warnings of State and Local officials,” he said in a tweet. “The Federal Government is closely monitoring and ready to assist. We are with you!”Florence is just one of three hurricanes churning in the Atlantic Ocean.Hurricane Isaac is moving toward the Caribbean and could make landfall near Dominica Thursday as a Category 1 hurricane.Isaac is forecast to stay south of Puerto Rico but may bring some rain to the island.In the eastern Pacific Ocean, forecasters are keeping a close watch on Tropical Storm Paul and Hurricane Olivia. Paul is not expected to make landfall but Olivia could threaten Hawaii.Olivia, now a Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of 85 mph, is forecast to weaken as it heads toward the Hawaii.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more