The southern East Coast of the United States is bracing for the arrival of Hurricane Florence as the storm — already packing winds of up to 140 mph — neared Category 5 strength Tuesday.
More than 1 million people face mandatory evacuation orders in coastal areas of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, where Florence could begin delivering tropical storm force winds late Wednesday.
One year after major storms ravaged the Gulf Coast and Puerto Rico, officials warned those in Florence’s path not to underestimate the threat the storm poses.
As of 11 p.m. ET Monday, Florence had maximum sustained winds of 140 mph, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
the National Hurricane Center saidThe storm is forecast to strengthen to near Category 5 and “there remains high confidence that Florence will be a large and extremely dangerous hurricane, regardless of its exact intensity,” . A Category 5 storm has sustained winds of 157 mph or more.