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Hurricane Florence strengthened "rapidly" on Monday, September 10, and is now a powerful Category 4 hurricane, USA forecasters said, as governors of 3 eastern U.S. states declared an emergency and told residents to prepare for the storm.

SC ordered an estimated one million people to evacuate its coast today as the state and neighbouring North Carolina brace for Hurricane Florence. According to the National Hurricane Center, the storm is expected to be a "large and extremely unsafe hurricane" when it arrives on the US coast. It is projected to make landfall between Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina Thursday evening as a Category 4 Major Hurricane. Georgia, West Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Delaware, New Jersey, southern Pennsylvania, and eastern Tennessee, Kentucky, and OH could also see strong winds. He told The Chronicle Sunday that once Florence hits land, destructive winds and huge rainfall flooding may take hold of the area.

The storm's potential path also includes half a dozen nuclear power plants, pits holding coal-ash and other industrial waste, and numerous eastern hog farms that store animal waste in massive open-air lagoons. The hurricane center noted that, when it comes to predicting the path of a hurricane four and five days in the future, it can be off by an average of about 140 and 180 nautical miles.

Lining up behind Florence, Isaac was about 1,230 miles (1,985 kilometers) east of the Windward Islands with top winds of 75 mph (120 kph) early Monday, moving west at 13 mph (20 kph).

Hurricane Florence is gaining speed in the Atlantic Ocean and expected to become a major hurricane soon.

Hurricane Florence is gearing up to pound the eastern USA coastline as it racks up maximum winds of 220 km/h, making it an "extremely dangerous" storm system which strength is only expected to grow. Florence "is expected to remain an extremely risky major hurricane through Thursday", the NHC said in a statement.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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These evacuations, a part of Executive Order 2018-29, are mandatory and include Beaufort and Dorchester counties beginning at noon Tuesday, Sept. 11. The storm could bring 2-4 inches of rain to those islands, risking flash floods.

According to USA Today, the National Hurricane Centre has said Florence is set to hit the US East Coast later this week, possibly as early as Wednesday.

Forecasters have warned of a life-threatening storm surge, along with the damage of a hurricane's high winds.

But the season is just now peaking, and Hurricanes Florence, Isaac, and Helene are a stark reminder that we are not out of the woods yet.

"This is a serious storm, and it's going to affect the entire state of Virginia", he said.

Senators and Congressmen from Virginia urged President Trump Monday to declare a federal emergency before Hurricane Florence makes landfall later this week.