Evacuations in United States ahead of Hurricane Florence

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More than 10 million people are in the crosshairs of Hurricane Florence as storm force winds move within hours of battering the U.S. east coast.

People fleeing coastal North and SC clogged highways Wednesday as Florence bore down on the coast for a direct hit in a low-lying region dense with beachfront vacation homes.

Another four million people are under a tropical storm watch.

Up to 1.7 million people have been ordered to evacuate across South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.

Its governor, Roy Cooper, told residents "the time to prepare was nearly over".

Each storm is clearly highlighted on the map and identified with a name, showing that Hurricane Florence is not the only storm threatening to ravage civilians. The storm will bring dangerously high amounts of rain, forecasters say.

While some of the computer forecasting models conflicted, the latest projections more or less showed the storm shifting southward and westward in a way that suddenly put more of SC in danger and imperilled Georgia, too.

SC authorities have turned four motorways into one-way routes away from the coast to speed the exodus.

Whittington is aware of a potentially 13-foot storm surge that's predicted to hit Carolina Beach before, during and after Florence makes landfall, battering and inundating low-lying homes with water.

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Upon its arrival, the National Hurricane Center projects that Florence could drop anywhere from 20-40 inches of rain along the Carolina coast.

"An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft that was in the hurricane until just after midnight" recorded a peak wind gust of around 150 miles per hour, according to the hurricane center. The hurricane centre said Florence will approach the coast Friday and linger for a while before rolling ashore.

By contrast, North Carolina has said it is evacuating hundreds of prisoners from prisons and county jails before the storm, the Charlotte Observer reports.

Satellite images show the storm has maintained a distinct eye and is well organized.

Though Florence won't be making landfall until Friday, tropical-storm-force winds - 39 to 73 miles per hour (63 to 117 km/h) - will begin whipping through coastal regions as early as tomorrow, making it exceptionally unsafe to be outside, Graham said. The Category 4 storm is likely to produce "catastrophic" flooding in the eastern Carolinas, as well as destructive winds.

"A motion toward the northwest is forecast to begin by this afternoon and continue through Thursday", the hurricane center says. "Florence is expected to slow down considerably by late Thursday into Friday, and move slowly through early Saturday".

While one stated: 'It takes a massive hurricane and a national weather services's poorly designed graphics to unite the smartasses of America.

"Be prepared for the inland effects of the storm as well as the ensuing storm surge in coastal areas", Mr Deal said in a statement.

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