Hurricane Florence strengthened Sunday as it moved across the Atlantic toward a possible direct hit on the U.S. Southeast by the end of the week. The storm prompted warnings for residents up and down the coast, and red flags flying on beaches warned swimmers to stay out of waters. Florence passed the 74 mph threshold from tropical storm to hurricane Sunday morning, and by evening its winds were up to 85 mph. Drawing energy from the warm water, it could become a Category 4 hurrixane with winds of 130 mph or more by Tuesday. Forecasters urged residents from South Carolina to the mid-Atlantic to get ready,with some forecasting models showing it could unload a foot or two of rain in places, causing devastating inland flooding.
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