Hurricane Florence grew stronger as it barreled toward the Southeast coast Monday, rapidly intensifying into a Category 4 storm as officials from Virginia to Florida warned residents to prepare for a potentially devastating hit.
Only an hour earlier, the National Hurricane Center said Florence had strengthened into a Category 3 storm. But the agency then tweeted at noon Florence had grown again to a Category 4, with maximum sustained winds near 130 mph.
Florence is currently 575 miles south-southeast of Bermuda and about 1,230 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, moving west at 13 mph.
North and South Carolina are anticipated to bear the brunt, according to forecasters. In North Carolina, evacuations were already underway: Dare County officials issued a mandatory evacuation on Monday for Hatteras Island