Florence could hit with punch not seen in more than 60 years

FILE-In this Oct. 15, 1954 file photo, High tides, whipped in by Hurricane Hazel, shatter boats and buildings in Swansboro, N.C., as the storm lashes

FILE-In this Oct. 15, 1954 file photo, High tides, whipped in by Hurricane Hazel, shatter boats and buildings in Swansboro, N.C., as the storm lashes

FILE-In this Oct. 15, 1954 file photo, Hurricane Hazel destruction is seen in Morehead City, N.C. The last time the midsection of the East Coast stare

FILE-In this Oct. 15, 1954 file photo, Hurricane Hazel destruction is seen in Morehead City, N.C. The last time the midsection of the East Coast stare

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The last time the midsection of the East Coast stared down a hurricane like Florence, Dwight Eisenhower was in the White House and Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio were newlyweds.

Florence could inflict the hardest hurricane punch the Carolinas have seen in more than 60 years, with rain and wind of more than 130 mph (209 kph). North Carolina has been hit by only one other Category 4 storm since reliable record keeping began in the 1850s. That was Hurricane Hazel in 1954.

Florida is closer to the equator and in line with the part of the Atlantic where hurricanes are born, off the African coast. As a result, Florida has had at least five hurricanes in the past century of Category 4 or greater, including Hurricane Andrew in 1992.