New space images show massive size of Hurricane Florence

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Mandatory evacuation orders are in effect Tuesday in three U.S. states as forecasters and officials urge people to get ready for devastating winds and heavy rains from Hurricane Florence.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) says it expects the storm to make landfall in North Carolina or South Carolina late Thursday into Friday as “an extremely dangerous major hurricane.”

Florence is a Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 220 kilometers per hour and forecasters think it will gain more strength Tuesday or Wednesday.

A Category 4 storm is capable of ripping roofs off houses, snapping or uprooting most trees, bringing lasting power outages and making areas uninhabitable for weeks or months.