Photo: NOAA via Getty Images

As of 5 p.m. ET, Hurricane Florence had maximum sustained winds of 140 mph. The official intensity forecast has been raised — now calling for it to peak as a Category 5 storm before weakening slightly as it makes its approach to the coast.

The big picture: Florence poses extraordinary risks for the East Coast, from storm surge flooding at the coasts, to high winds inland and potentially deadly inland flooding. As of 5 pm ET, the National Hurricane Center said the storm's hurricane force wind field had doubled in size in the past 12 hours.

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49 mins ago - Health

4 former CDC heads say Trump's undermining of agency puts lives at risk

CDC director Robert Redfield and President Trump. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Four former directors of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention blasted the Trump administration's "repeated efforts to subvert" agency guidelines related to reopening schools, accusing the White House in a scathing Washington Post op-ed of undermining science with "partisan potshots."

Why it matters: The directors, Tom Frieden, Jeffrey Koplan and David Satcher and acting head Richard Besser, served in parts of the Obama, Bush and Clinton administrations. They said they "cannot recall over our collective tenure a single time when political pressure led to a change in the interpretation of scientific evidence."

Chinese students at U.S. colleges face deep uncertainty

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A new visa guideline issued last week would strip international students in the U.S. of their student visa if their college classes are online-only amid the pandemic.

Why it matters: More than 360,000 Chinese students are enrolled at U.S. colleges. Many of them could be forced to return to China if the rule change is implemented.

Pelosi "absolutely" would skip August recess to reach coronavirus stimulus deal

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told CNN on Tuesday she would "absolutely" be willing to forgo the House's August recess to reach a deal for another relief package to help the country battle the health and economic crises caused by the coronavirus.

The big picture: Pelosi indicated the package would earmark money for coronavirus testing and contact tracing, as well as assistance for state and local governments whose budgets are in dire financial straits due to revenue shortfalls caused by the recession.