A coastal North Carolina county on Monday issued a mandatory evacuation order for its entire population as a Hurricane Florence strengthened to a Category 3 hurricane and continued its slow but angry dance toward the U.S. East Coast.

The National Hurricane Center says Florence is expected to slam into the coast around North and South Carolina as a Category 3 hurricane on Thursday or Friday. The storm’s winds had increased to 115 mph, a Category 3 hurricane, on Monday.

The National Weather Service upgraded Florence to a Category 3 storm in its 11 a.m. update. Florence now has maximum sustained winds of 115 mph, and gusts up to 140 mph, making it a major hurricane capable of doing “devastating” damage.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said he had asked President Trump for a federal disaster declaration ahead of the storm.

“We here in North Carolina are bracing for a hart hit,” Cooper told USA Today. “We are taking Hurricane Florence seriously.”

Lines at grocery stores

Grocery stores are restocking shelves with water and bread, and supply stores are selling a lot of plywood and generators Monday as East Coast communities prepare for Hurricane Florence to strike hard later this week.

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Reporting from the Publix in Apex- water supplies being depleted ahead of Florence late next week. Bread and milk supplies still robust. #hurricane #florence #stormprep #preparedontpanic

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Tourists and residents were outside Sunday enjoying pleasant weather, but by Monday emergency management workers had been told to buckle up for what could be a very long week. “This storm gets stronger and stronger” and is on its way to a head-on impact on the Carolinas, CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said.


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