Volvo halts production in SC as hurricane closes in

Hurricane Florence strengthened into a Category 4 hurricane Monday afternoon

Now a Category 4 hurricane packing 140 mile-per-hour winds, Florence is due to make landfall somewhere in the Carolinas late Friday or Saturday.

According to National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florence is expected to strengthen to a potentially Category 5 storm before it makes landfall somewhere along the South Carolina-North Carolina border.

Businesses and homes in the storm's path were boarded up and thousands of people had moved to emergency shelters, officials said, urging anyone who remained near the coast to flee.

Along the Cumberland Plateau, where several inches of rain fell Sunday and early Monday as remnants of Tropical Storm Gordon interacted with a cold front that swept in from the northwest, Hurricane Florence was not expected to have much of an impact.

The governors of South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia have declared emergencies. Sustained winds were 130 miles per hour (215 kph) Tuesday morning, but it remains a Category 4 storm and is expected to intensify to near Category 5 status as it slows over very warm coastal waters.

He says the peanut crop could use some rain after a very dry August, but certainly doesn't need the amount of moisture Florence is expected to deliver.

As of Tuesday, storm surge and hurricane warnings have been issued along the southeast US coast from parts of Florida to Cape Cod, MA.

The hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to November 30, when the waters of the Atlantic Ocean are warm enough to produce tropical cyclones.

Ahead of Florence's arrival, barrier islands were already seeing unsafe rip currents and seawater flowed over a state highway - the harbinger of a storm surge that could wipe out dunes and submerge entire communities. William & Mary has canceled events from Friday through Sunday, including its football opener against Elon on Saturday.

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The National Weather Service is forecasting "significant" river flooding, especially in the northeastern portion of the state. Forecasters predict the storm surge from Hurricane Florence could top 13 feet, enough to send water a half mile inland.

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"We face three critical threats from Florence: ocean surge along our coast, strong winds, and inland flooding from heavy rain", Governor Cooper said.

Hurricane Isaac is expected to lose strength as it reaches the Caribbean, and Helene, much farther out to sea, may veer northwards into the open ocean as the 2018 hurricane season reaches its peak.

"There's just certain times of year when you just don't want to put waste on fields", said Mike Yoder, an associate director and coordinator for emergency-response programs at North Carolina State University Extension.

If it makes landfall as predicted, Florence could become the northernmost Category 4 hurricane to hit the USA since records were first kept in 1851.

A Category 5 hurricane can generate sustained winds at 251 kilometres per hour.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster ordered as many as one million coastal residents to leave their homes ahead of the storm's projected arrival on Thursday. Further strengthening is forecast and it is expected to be a large and powerful hurricane as it nears the East Coast. "The forecast shows Florence stalling over North Carolina, bringing days and days of rain". "We expect Florence to weigh on P&C (re) insurance stocks as it moves closer to mainland U.S".

Liz Browning Fox was planning to ride out the storm on the Outer Banks, defying evacuation orders.

"This is one of the worst storms to hit the East Coast in many years", US President Donald Trump tweeted Monday evening. "We've never seen anything quite like this, on the East Coast at least", he said, according to Reuters.

Power companies warned residents may be without power for days or weeks.

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