Hurricane Florence strengthens to Category 4: What that means for Duke, Durham

International Space Station by astronaut Ricky Arnold shows Hurricane Florence over the Atlantic Ocean in the early morning hours of September 6

At that point the storm was centered about 1,170 miles (1,880 km) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, the NHC said. The storm was located roughly 1,170 miles east-southeast of the Cape Fear region, and remained a risky Category 4 storm.

Courtesy @astro_ricky/NASA/Handout via REUTERSA photo taken from the International Space Station by astronaut Ricky Arnold shows Hurricane Florence over the Atlantic Ocean on early September 6.

Emergency personnel and employers are also keeping an eye on Hurricane Olivia-which forecasters say may weaken in intensity to a tropical storm-expected to hit Hawaii as soon as Tuesday.

Officials say Florence is now a category four storm with 130mph (195km/h) winds and gaining strength.

Rapidly intensifying Hurricane Florence could strike a direct and risky blow anywhere from the Carolinas to the Mid-Atlantic region later this week, possibly as a fearsome category 4.

"On the forecast track, the center of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas Tuesday and Wednesday, and approach the coast of SC or North Carolina on Thursday", said the NHC. If the storm moves on a coastal track, it would require the commonwealth to enact a tiered evacuation plan, commonly known as "Know Your Zone". Watches are usually put in place 48 hours before landfall and warnings come after that.

The weather agency also warned "life-threatening freshwater flooding is likely from a prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall event". Landfall may be Thurs.

Feasting off the energy from unusually strong sea surface temperatures, Hurricane Florence is intensifying quickly and tracking inexorably toward landfall along the U.S. Southeast or Mid-Atlantic coast on Thursday.

"These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip currents", the hurricane center said.

Reaction: Players near and far offer congratulations to Novak Djokovic
Djokovic was soon 3-1 up in the second set before Del Potro carved out his first break point of the match to level at 3-3. Law admitted it will be a tough task for Djokovic, with Federer still able to add to his tally of 20 Grand Slams.

At noon on Monday, Hurricane Florence blew into a Category 4 classification, a level experts previously predicted wouldn't occur until later in the week.

Two other hurricanes are now churning in the Atlantic Ocean.

"We do not want to risk one SC life in this hurricane", McMaster said.

The mayor of Richmond has declared a state of emergency as Virginia's capital city braces for significant rain from Hurricane Florence. Virginia's price gouging law allows for a civil penalty of up to $2,500 per violation (or up to $5,000 if in violation of an injunction), and North Carolina allows for a civil penalty of up to $5,000 per violation. "Data from a NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that Florence has continued to rapidly strengthen".

"Regardless of where the storm makes landfall, all residents in Stanly should prepare for this hurricane", said Brian T. Simpson, director of emergency services.

Florence grew into a major hurricane on Monday morning and was upgraded again to a Category 4 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane strength at midday as its top sustained wind speeds reached 130 miles per hour.

It is expected to strike the Carolinas by Thursday.

With the onset of tropical storm force winds and rain only a couple of days away, the time to prepare is now, emergency management officials said.

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