Preparedness

Hurricane Florence Now Category 4: Airlines Lift Fees, Cruises Rerouted, Evacuations Ordered

The storm's winds topped 130 mph as of Monday, making it a Category 4 hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center.

by Leada Gore, Alabama Media Group, Birmingham, Ala. / September 10, 2018
People buy supplies at The Home Depot on Monday, Sept. 10, 2018, in Wilmington, N.C. Florence rapidly strengthened into a potentially catastrophic hurricane on Monday as it closed in on North and South Carolina, carrying winds and water that could wreak havoc over a wide stretch of the eastern United States later this week. AP/Ken Blevins

(TNS) — Hurricane Florence is already causing headaches for travelers and evacuations along the East Coast.

The storm's winds topped 130 mph as of Monday, making it a Category 4 hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center. Damaging hurricane-force winds and life-threatening storm surge are likely along portions of the coasts of South Carolina and North Carolina later this week. Storm watches are expected to go up tomorrow ahead of a Thursday night or early Friday morning landfall.

For the latest Hurricane Florence forecast, go here.

Travel disruptions

The storm is expected to disrupt travel along the Eastern shore.

Southwest Airlines has issued a travel advisory for Sept. 12-16 and is allowing customers flying through Charleston, Charlotte, Greenville/Spartanburg, Norfolk/Virginia Beach, Raleigh/Durham and Richmond to make travel changes without paying a recalculated fare.

Other airlines are expected to do the same as the storm approaches.

Cruise ship changes

Florence is also forcing cruise ships to change itineraries.

Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Escape, based in New York, was rerouted from Bermuda to the Bahamas due to the storm. Royal Caribbean and two Carnival ships — the Pride and Horizon — have changed itineraries and stops due to Florence.

Evacuations

North Carolina has ordered residents to evacuate the state's Outer Banks barrier island starting today. All of Hatteras Island is under a mandatory evacuation order with other parts of the Outer Banks required to evacuate by 7 a.m. EDT Tuesday.

North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia are all under a state of emergency.

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