Hotels brace for Hurricane Florence as residents evacuate

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The National Hurricane Center predicts Florence will reach the East Coast as early as Wednesday night, and its winds are nearing 140 miles per hour. It expects to issue hurricane watches for parts of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic coast Tuesday morning.

The first effects were already being seen on barrier islands as unsafe rip currents hit beaches and seawater flowed over a state highway.

With Hurricane Florence spinning through the Atlantic Ocean and threatening to slam into SC later this week, Gov. Henry McMaster ordered mandatory evacuations for the state's entire coastline beginning at noon Tuesday.

If Florence makes landfall as a Category 4 in North Carolina, it will be the strongest storm to come ashore that far north on record.

A mandatory evacuation will start at noon Tuesday for eight coastal counties, McMaster said in a press conference Monday afternoon.

Warmer than normal sea temperatures to add energy and rain to a storm.

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Hurricane-force winds could extend more than 50 miles from the storm's center, putting much of the state at risk of destructive winds.

"But if you put a foot or 2 - or maybe in some isolated places more - of rain over hills and mountains, you have a very different kind of problem, which is really more risky than the flat situation, as bad as that was", he said.

In Brunswick County, in the far southeast corner of the state, the county government ordered the mandatory evacuation of people in low-lying areas and the voluntary evacuation of other areas.

"First of all it's important to get the notion across to the team that they can't worry or assume anything", Hokies coach Justin Fuente said.

"Residents and interests living along and near the Carolina coast and even up toward the Virginia Capes should closely monitor Florence and be ready to put their hurricane plan in place", Kottlowski said.

In announcing his evacuation order, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said an estimated 1 million people would be fleeing the coast.

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States of emergency have been declared in South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland, with President Donald Trump approving emergency declarations in South and North Carolina.

The Atlantic hurricane season officially began June 1, but cooler water and higher wind shear - winds moving at different speeds and directions - early in the season are less than ideal for tropical systems to gain and maintain strength.

"Never have we seen quite this type of a storm approach us".

Hurricane Florence became a Category 4 storm today, meaning it could be potentially catastrophic.

Maximum sustained winds were clocked at 140 miles per hour (220 kph) as it moved west-northwest at 13 miles per hour (20 kph). "Get ready now", he said. So you know, where we've been able to deploy resources closer to the coast when we had major hurricanes like this that maybe skirt the coast and then move up the coast of North Carolina, up the eastern seaboard - this one seems to be coming into the Wilmington area and then goes right through the state.

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