Hurricane Florence on Course to the Carolinas

Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence

With maximum sustained winds of 140 miles per hour (220 kph), Florence was due to grow even stronger before making landfall on Thursday, mostly likely in southeastern North Carolina near the SC border, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

Hurricane Florence is plowing toward the East Coast as a Category 4 storm with a 500-mile wing span, forcing dire warnings and mandatory evacuations - including the entire coastline of SC and parts of Virginia and North Carolina.

The storm's first effects were already apparent on barrier islands as risky 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. An estimated 250,000 more people from the northern Outer Banks were due to be sent to higher ground starting Tuesday at midday.

National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham warned that Florence was forecast to linger over the Carolinas once it reaches shore. "When you stall a system like this and it moves real slow, some of that rainfall can extend well away from the centre".

Lewis Cooper of Myrtle Beach lines up with other customers to buy propane at Socastee Hardware store, ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence in Myrtle Beach, S.C., on Monday. American, Delta, United, Southwest, JetBlue, Spirit, Frontier, and Alaska have all issued fee waiver policies for some airports in Virginia and North and SC.

McMaster has already declared a state of emergency in SC and asked President Donald Trump for a federal declaration ahead of the storm, which intensified Monday to a potentially catastrophic Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 130 miles per hour (195 kph).

Two other storms are spinning in the Atlantic.

As Florence approaches the coast, it is forecast to strengthen.

President Trump speaks at Sept. 11 ceremony in Pennsylvania
President Donald Trump threw his fists in the air as he arrived in Pennsylvania for a 9/11 memorial service . Mr Trump listened as the names of the 40 victims were read aloud, followed by the tolling of bells.

Hurricane Florence is now a powerful Category 4 hurricane and is expected to make a risky impact once it makes landfall along the coast of the southeast USA later this week.

Bringing a devastating storm surge, powerful winds and catastrophic flooding, governors in South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland are urging residents to prepare.

Cooper has already requested from President Donald Trump a federal disaster declaration to ensure North Carolina receives financial aid as soon as possible.

In Holden Beach, North Carolina, in the storm's path, longtime residents were busy securing their homes and possessions. Florence, which is expected to become a Cat 5 hurricane today, is projected to hit North Carolina either very late Thursday or early Friday.

What else should I know?

The retired Havelock native said she'd been through hurricanes before and said she was "not scared" about the prospect of the first major hurricane of the 2018 season. "Hurricane 2nd category Helen was strong, but was expected to move North into the open ocean", write the meteorologists.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said an estimated 1 million people would be fleeing his state's coast, with eastbound lanes of Interstate 26 heading into Charleston and US 501 heading into Myrtle Beach reversed to ease the exodus.

The state Transportation Department likely will begin diverting eastbound traffic off I-26 in Columbia to US 321 or I-77 north at 8 a.m. Tuesday, it said.

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