One million told to flee as Hurricane Florence nears US

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- Hurricane Florence has continued to rapidly intensify, now reaching Category 4 storm strength as it closes in on the Carolinas.

In its 11 p.m. Sunday advisory, the National Hurricane Center upgraded Tropical Storm Isaac to a Category 1 hurricane, with winds of almost 75 miles per hour. The current forecast track suggests the hurricane will most likely approach North Carolina or SC on Thursday as it gathers speed. In fact, there have only been four other hurricanes in our recorded history (since 1851) that have made landfall along the east coast north of Florida.

While the surf height at local beaches is estimated at just 3 feet Monday, the risk for life-threatening rip currents in the surf zone remains high.

"The bottom line is that there is increasing confidence that Florence will be a large and extremely risky hurricane, regardless of its exact intensity", the NHC forecast warned. At around 12 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT), the National Hurricane Center (NHC) announced that Hurricane Florence had strengthened to a Category 4 storm.

Mr Cooper said he had asked Mr Trump to declare a federal state of emergency for North Carolina.

"We do not want to risk one SC life in this hurricane", Governor Henry McMaster said at a news conference. Drawing energy from the warm water, the now Category 2 storm could be a fearsome Category 4 with winds of 130 miles per hour (209 kph) or more by Tuesday.

Further out in the Atlantic, two storms - Helene and Isaac - gained hurricane force on Sunday.

A mandatory evacuation order has been issued for residents living along the entire SC coast. Some 27 percent of the deaths have come from rain-driven flooding, sometimes hundreds of miles inland.

The coasts of SC and North Carolina have only been hit by about a dozen Category 3 storms since 1850.

In Guam, Typhoon Mangkhut - a Category 4 storm - narrowly missed dealing a direct blow to the island. Helene is expected to go out to sea after passing the Cabo Verde Islands, but Isaac could be on a path to the Caribbean, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria almost a year ago.

Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 100 km/h with higher gusts and additional strengthening is forecast during the next couple of days.

Florence regained Hurricane strength yesterday morning and is considered a potential threat as it is expected to pass within 460 miles of the island in the next 72 hours.

AccuWeather meteorologist Brett Rossi said the ground in North and SC and Virginia is already saturated from recent rains.

Isaac is one of three hurricanes in the Atlantic as of Monday.

"This is a very unsafe hurricane", Governor Henry McMaster has said.

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