Florence gaining steam as it approaches the Carolinas

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According to the noon-time update from the NHC, operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Florence now has sustained winds of almost 130 miles per hour and has no become what the agency considers "a major hurricane".

Hurricane Florence is intensifying and expected to transform into a major hurricane as it barrels toward the southeastern USA coast, where forecasters expect a life-threatening storm surge, major flooding and damaging winds this week. A storm with sustained winds of at least 111 miles per hour classifies as a Category 3 major hurricane, according to the NHC.

Florence is now moving west at around 13 miles per hour (20 kph), and is forecast to drench a large swath of the US East Coast running from northern Florida to New Jersey.

Florence's centre was expected to move over the Atlantic Ocean between the Bahamas and Bermuda on Tuesday and Wednesday before approaching North and SC on Thursday.

Residents in North Carolina have been issued with a mandatory evacuation order as Hurricane Florence has been upgraded to a Category 4 storm. The move will allow the state to use the National Guard for preparations and recovery if necessary.

More than 400 hundred officers from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division will be stationed in the coastal areas to help assists evacuation and protect property. This week, most major US airlines are waiving change fees for passengers whose plans change because they are flying to or from cities in the path of Hurricane Florence.

"There is an increasing risk of life-threatening impacts from Florence", the hurricane center has been saying for days.

He said: "They are getting ready". On the other end of the spectrum, this storm will be a prolonged heavy rain event as the system starts to slow down after landfall.

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In Holden Beach, North Carolina, in the storm's path, longtime residents were boarding up homes and securing possessions.

"But, Florence has its sights set on the state of North Carolina".

Hurricane Isaac, much farther out to sea, has become the 5th named hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic season, the hurricane center added.

In coastal Charleston, South Carolina, city officials offered sandbags to residents.

SC has ordered the mandatory evacuation of its entire coast, and evacuations were also ordered for several North Carolina towns, as Category 4 Hurricane Florence continues her aggressive pursuit towards the states.

"I don't think many of us have ever been through a Category 4. Whipping out store shelves of water and other supplies". This map shows the estimated arrival time of tropical storm force winds. The state's emergency management division has posted additional information on the evacuations and how to prepare.

The US Navy said it was sending almost 30 ships from coastal Virginia out of port to ride out the storm.