Millions prepare for potentially catastrophic Hurricane Florence

Posted September 14, 2018

SC has ordered the mandatory evacuation of its entire coast, and evacuations were also ordered for several North Carolina towns, as Category 4 Hurricane Florence continues her aggressive pursuit towards the states.

Hurricane Florence was still a Category 4 hurricane on Tuesday morning but had weakened, with sustained winds of 130 miles per hour.

The governor of neighbouring North Carolina ordered an evacuation of the Outer Banks, barrier islands that are a popular tourist destination, and parts of coastal Dare County, while a state of emergency was declared in Virginia.

The storm's first effects were already apparent on barrier islands as unsafe rip currents hit beaches and seawater flowed over a state highway - the harbinger of a storm surge that could wipe out dunes and submerge entire communities.

Empty shelves are seen at a supermarket as residents prepare for Storm Florence's descent in Columbia, South Carolina, U.S., September 10, 2018, in this still image taken from a video obtained from social media. And some forecasts have the storm slowing to linger over the Carolinas, spreading heavy rain all the way to West Virginia while leading to flooding and power outages.

AccuWeather meteorologist Brett Rossi said the ground in North and SC and Virginia is already saturated from recent rains.

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Residents in eight counties along the coast - Jasper, Beaufort, Colleton, Charleston, Dorchester, Berkeley, Georgetown and Horry - must begin evacuating by noon Tuesday, McMaster said at a news briefing.

Meanwhile, two other storms were also spinning in the Atlantic.

SHAPIRO: Your phone line is breaking up a little bit, but it sounds like the bull's eye of the storm may be heading right for Wilmington.

Storm "Florence" promises to be the most powerful in 30 years.

Up to 30 inches of rain could fall in isolated pockets across North Carolina, Virginia and northern SC through Saturday. "If you are given an evacuation order, please comply immediately before roads get clogged and chaos commences".

"This storm gets stronger and stronger" on its way to a head-on impact with a zone that ranges some 80 miles, Myers said.

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"And your umbrella-guns, and your beer, and your beer-guns, and your tiny umbrellas to keep your beer dry, and join people from all along the East Coast in scaring away Hurricane Florence to protect our country from this foreign invader!"

"To the incredible citizens of North Carolina, South Carolina and the entire East Coast - the storm looks very bad!" They are heeding what the governor has said, what the emergency operations command center has been telling us. Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune urged people to secure their homes but said it was too early to know if evacuations will be ordered.

"The bottom line is that there is high confidence that Florence will be a large and extremely risky hurricane, regardless of its exact intensity", the hurricane center said.

In announcing his evacuation order, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said an estimated 1 million people would be fleeing the coast.

In addition, in the Pacific, what's now Hurricane Olivia is forecast to approach Hawaii as a tropical storm on Tuesday. And if it comes this way, we're going to be in for one - a big storm.

Hurricane Florence was upgraded to a Category 4 earlier on Monday, with President Donald Trump taking to Twitter to encourage those in its path to "take all necessary precautions". "Wind could move water into the tidal Potomac and the Chesapeake Bay", Pallozzi says, emphasizing that those flooding concerns will mainly be along the coastline of the rivers.

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