Hurrican Florence gains strength

(NBC News) – Evacuations orders have been issued along the coast of North and South Carolina as Hurricane Florence approaches.

The storm strengthened into a potentially catastrophic Category 4 hurricane Monday, with sustained winds approaching 130 miles per hour.

Current forecast tracks predict Florence will make landfall near Wilmington, North Carolina late Thursday.

“The forecast places North Carolina in the bull’s-eye of Hurricane Florence, and the storm is rapidly getting stronger,” North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned. “When weather forecasters tell us ‘life-threatening,’ we know that it is serious.”

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster ordered the evacuation of the entire South Carolina coast beginning Tuesday. Schools in much of the state will be closed, and eastbound lanes of Interstate 26 heading into Charleston and Highway 501 heading into Myrtle Beach will be reversed to help ease traffic.

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