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Hurricane Florence continues to strengthen: NHC
11 September 2018, 06:34 | Justin Tyler
"Florence is. expected to remain an extremely unsafe major hurricane through Thursday", the hurricane center warned. Residents boarded up their homes, formed long lines at gas stations and emptied the shelves of hardware stores and supermarkets. Helene has winds of 45 mph, and is 330 miles from the Cabo Verde Islands.
Tropical-storm-force winds could reach the coastline as early as Wednesday night, at which point all outdoor preparations should be completed.
U.S. President Donald Trump, whose administration was criticized as being slow to respond to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico past year, canceled a political rally planned for Friday in Jackson, Mississippi, over safety concerns related to Florence, his campaign said.
National Guard soldiers are being mobilized in the affected states.
"We here in North Carolina are bracing for a hard hit", Cooper said Monday.
Dare County officials ordered everyone to leave Hatteras Island on Monday.
An evacuation order from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam applies to about 245,000 people, including parts of the Hampton Roads area and Eastern Shore. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster also suspended his campaign and asked President Donald Trump for a federal emergency declaration.
"This is a real hurricane we have coming", McMaster said Monday.
Alicia Buchanan posted on Instagram from Walmart in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
State government offices, including schools and medical facilities, will be closed in 26 counties, McMaster said. A mandatory evacuation for residents and visitors in other areas of the county goes into effect at 7 a.m. Tuesday. "Everyone in Virginia needs to prepare", he said. "This is a serious storm and it's going to affect the entire state of Virginia". Coastal residents should also check what hurricane evacuation zone they live in.
She, her husband and children will make the 4.5-hour drive to family in Dover, Delaware, as soon as he is cleared from duty.
"So, I'm prepping with some bottled water, a couple puzzle books, and making sure all my electronics and back-up batteries are charged", she told CNN. "They're coming in and buying water and plates, and that's about all they're buying".
Since noon Sunday, a Lowe's in Lumberton, North Carolina, has been sold out of generators, store manager Mackie Singletary said.
Virginia and North Carolina and SC already are on alert.
The storm is expected to continue moving west in the next few days and become a hurricane by Monday. It was centered about 1,230 miles (1,985 kilometers) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, and moving west at 13 mph (20 kph).
Heavy rain and potential flooding and mudslides are a growing concern, more so than winds.
The Atlantic hurricane season, which typically runs from June to November, caused more than $250 billion worth of damage in the United States in 2017.
The peak of hurricane season is September 10, although hurricane season doesn't end until November 30.
Hurricane Isaac was expected to lose strength as it reaches the Caribbean, and Helene, much farther out to sea, may veer northward into the open ocean as the 2018 hurricane season reaches its peak. It regained hurricane strength Sunday and was upgraded again Monday. It strengthened rapidly last week before it was weakened by wind shear. The ships will head to portions of the Atlantic where they can avoid the storm.
CNN's Kaylee Hartung reported from Wilmington and Paul P. Murphy from NY, while CNN's Jay Croft wrote in Atlanta.
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