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Forecasters said Florence’s eye could come ashore early Friday around the North Carolina-South Carolina line.
Coastal residents fleeing a potentially devastating blow from Hurricane Florence encountered empty gasoline pumps and depleted store shelves as the monster storm neared the Carolina coast with 140 mph (225 kph) winds and drenching rain that could last for days.
The last time the midsection of the East Coast stared down a hurricane like this, Dwight Eisenhower was in the White House and Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio were newlyweds.
Florence rapidly strengthened into a potentially catastrophic Category 4 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.