Hurricane Florence Gaining Strength, Landfall Expected Thursday Night

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Hurricane Florence has gained strength and is expected to make landfall Thursday night. By Thursday morning its storm-force winds could be seen in South Carolina coastal areas.

Ahead of it people have started evacuating Myrtle Beach and Charleston areas. Officials are asking residents and tourists to leave low-lying coastal places and islands. It is expected around one million people will be fleeing the Category 4 storm. Many schools have announced to remain closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. The farthest inland, Wayne County, is planning to keep the schools shut down even on Thursday and Friday.

South Carolina Governor McMaster issued Monday an order to keep closed on Tuesday and Wednesday all state offices, public schools, state colleges, universities and technical colleges.

It is learned more than 430,000 students would be affected by Hurricane Florence.

According to meteorologist at University of Georgia, J. Marshall Shepherd, the coast will first face high winds and storm surge, and probably the farther inland may be severely flooded.

He added their computer models are suggesting similar impact of a powerful direct hit as it was seen with Hurricane Harvey.

The professor of geography further mentioned that number of destructive storms have increased lately due to climate change. A study published in the Nature journal in 2014 reveals a poleward migration of intense storms.

Hurricane Florence latest developments:

Center of Hurricane Florence at 11 a.m. was in the Atlantic Ocean, between Puerto Rico and Bermuda.

Mandatory evacuations were announced for South Carolina coastal counties. Evacuations started at 8 a.m.

National Hurricane Center reported the maximum sustained winds lowered a bit to 130 miles an hour in the morning. However, it was also said to gain strength.

Olivia and Isaac, two more tropical storms, are under watch. Olivia may cross Hawaiian islands Tuesday night while Isaac may hit Puerto Rico over the weekend.

How to prepare evacuation

Pack emergency kit, take documents and protect valuables.

Move the fridge items to freezer.

Move electronic items to upper and higher shelves.

Trim tree branches and clear the yard.

Meanwhile, social media has been flooded with posts and photos of people in Carolina sharing empty shelves and long lines at shops and outlets.

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