Hurricane Florence, now a Category 4 storm, is approaching the US East Coast with winds of more than 130 miles per hour.
The governors of South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia have declared states of emergency and evacuation orders have been issued in Dare County, N.C., beginning at noon Monday. The storm is moving toward the northwest near 10 miles per hour and is expected to make landfall near North Carolina, bringing hurricane and tropical storm force winds, risky storm surge and heavy rainfall Thursday and Friday.
A mandatory evacuation order takes effect Tuesday at noon in eight counties along South Carolina's 187-mile coastline.
"This is a real hurricane we have coming", SC governor Henry McMaster said Monday.
As Paul Flaherty flew over Hurricane Florence, he didn't like what he was seeing.
The hurricane is expected to make landfall in North or SC sometime between Thursday and Friday, just after the average peak of the hurricane season.
On its current track Florence is expected to slam the Carolinas and Virginia the hardest, and all three states have issued emergency declarations to speed preparations.
A Storm Surge Warning is also in effect for South Santee River South Carolina to Duck North Carolina as well as Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, including the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers.
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In a 5 p.m. EDT update from the NHC, the storm's winds rose to 140 miles per hour, and it picked up speed in its westward track, doubling its speed from Sunday to 13 miles per hour.
Families should prepare their emergency kits (keep scrolling for a list of items to put in them) and determine what they will do in case of a necessary evacuation.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam's office predicted "catastrophic inland flooding, high winds and possible widespread power outages", cautioning that the deadliest risk would come from flooding.
Maue calculates that 34 million people will get at least 3 inches, with more than 5.7 million getting at least a foot and about 1.5 million getting 20 inches or more.
Two other storms were spinning in the Atlantic as the 2018 hurricane season reaches its peak. Officials say people refusing to evacuate could end up alone, drenched and in the dark, as rescue crews won't go out to help in winds above 80 km/h. Home Depot and Lowe's activated emergency response centers to get generators, trash bags and bottled water to stores before and after the storm. She said it was built in 2009 in Buxton, North Carolina, up on a ridge, and made to withstand a hurricane.
Millions evacuatedHurricane Florence has prompted North Carolina residents to stockpile supplies as many are evacuated.
Amtrak said Monday it is canceling service to points south of Washington starting Wednesday and through the weekend. Justin Kibbey also recalled the distinctness of the storm's eye.
"Right now we are just coordinating our internal resources, making sure all of those are ready and all of our assets are ready for deployment if need be", he said.