The southeastern coast of the U.S. is preparing for a potentially historic hurricane to make landfall later this week. Hurricane Florence is expected to hit the U.S. coast in the later half of this week, possibly as early as Wednesday evening.
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The hurricane has already reached category 4, with winds up to 130 miles per hour. The National Hurricane Center predicts a hurricane watch will likely be issued by Tuesday morning for the “extremely dangerous major hurricane.”
Related: Here's What You Should Know About Traveling During Hurricane Season, According to a Weather Expert
North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia will likely experience the brunt of the storm, with a possibility of up to 40 inches of rain, in addition to hurricane winds. The states have already declared a state of emergency in preparation for Hurricane Florence.
"North Carolina is taking Hurricane Florence seriously, and you should, too," North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said at a press conference.
Swells from the storm are already reaching Bermuda and parts of the U.S. coast. Freshwater flooding is extremely likely once the storm makes landfall, possibly as far inland as West Virginia.
Some meteorologists are already predicting that Florence “could be one of the worst storms in U.S. history.”
A mandatory evacuation is in order for North Carolina’s Hatteras Island, beginning Monday at noon. The order will extend to all of Dare County beginning Tuesday morning.