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Hurricane Hugo's leading edge lashed the coast from North Carolina to Florida Thursday as thousands of residents headed inland to avoid the brunt of the storm. With landfall expected as early as last night, schools were closed, homes and buildings were boarded up, and South Carolina's governor declared an emergency. The storm has killed at least 25 people in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

More than 1,100 US military police were sent to the Virgin Islands Thursday after President Bush ordered them to stop a post-hurricane frenzy of looting.

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