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The severity of Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 storm, is intensifying and triggering hurricane warnings along the coasts of the Carolinas, the National Hurricane Center announced in its 5 a.m. Wednesday update.

The winds cover an area more than 53,000 square miles - which is larger than the entire state of North Carolina.

The National Hurricane Center says a new report from an Air Force Reserve Unit hurricane hunter aircraft indicates that Hurricane Florence's top sustained winds have decreased slightly to 130 miles per hour, with higher gusts.

Hurricane Florence is barreling toward the southeastern United States because of the so-called "atmospheric brick wall", the high-pressure system that's guiding it there, forecasters report.

The game between East Carolina and No. 13 Virginia Tech is now off the weekend schedule due to Hurricane Florence.

Hurricane Florence continues to churn toward the US mainland with potentially highly destructive winds and enough rain to thoroughly drench and possibly flood much of Eastern North Carolina. "We are expecting more wind than we had with Hugo and more water than we had with Matthew".

More than one million people are estimated to have fled as the Hurricane heads towards the US.

Rain measured in feet is "looking likely", he said.

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Volvo has temporarily halted production at its SC factory as Hurricane Florence approaches the southeast coast.

A new National Hurricane Center map predicting the likelihood of tropical storm-force winds stretches from northern Florida to eastern Kentucky and OH, and even up to the New York City area - although there's only a 5% to 10% chance of those conditions stretching that far north. 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. N.C. State is off on October 13 but West Virginia plays Iowa State.

The monster storm was upgraded to an "extremely dangerous" Category 4 by the National Hurricane Centre yesterday but is predicted to approach the most-damaging Category 5 status. Residents in all hurricane evacuation zones must evacuate beginning no later than NOON TUESDAY, SEPT. 11.

Lester "Buddy" Stroud, a farm hand at Shelley Farms, walks through a field of tobacco ready to be harvested in the Pleasant View community of Horry County, South Carolina, U.S., July 26, 2013.

"The risk is probably not that rain is going to fall into the pits", Holleman said "The risk is that land and water will compromise the dams". That same block of counties is also facing an elevated tornado threat, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Landfall is expected late Thursday or early Friday, and on its current path the eye of the storm will pass near Wilmington and the southern beach towns.

If it remains at Category 4, Florence would be one the strongest hurricanes to make landfall in the continental US this far north. "Florence is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 15 to 20 inches with isolated maxima to 30 inches near Florence's track over portions of North Carolina, Virginia and northern SC through Saturday".

Currituck officials reiterated this morning that the evacuation ordered in Corolla and Carova on Monday is for vacationers and guests only. One power station, Duke Energy Corp's Brunswick plant, the closest to the area where landfall is forecast, faced a likely shutdown as a precaution.