Florence takes aim at Carolinas

Florence takes aim at Carolinas

Hurricane Florence is set to make landfall along the North Carolina coast on Thursday as a major category 4 hurricane.

Hurricane warnings have been issued by the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) for portions of SC and North Carolina due to Hurricane Florence, according to the agency's 5 p.m. update on September 11.

Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for the coasts of South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, and states of emergency have been declared there as well as Maryland and the District of Columbia.

"Additional watches may be required later today", said the National Hurricane Center, warning inland areas have as much to worry about as the coast.

Across the Carolinas, people are preparing for what experts believe could be a devastating storm.

The massive storm is threatening the East Coast of the USA with an expected landfall late Thursday.

Florence's maximum sustained winds are now clocking in at 209km/h (130 mph) with higher gusts expected to come, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

The nearly 500-mile wide storm swirling towards the United States east coast "could be the most unsafe storm in the history of the Carolinas", the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) administrator, Brock Long, warned on Tuesday afternoon.

Hurricane Florence's size is "staggering", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham warned.

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- Residents and visitors on South Carolina's coast are ordered to evacuate beginning at noon on Tuesday.

President Donald Trump declared states of emergency for North and SC, facilitating federal help, and cancelled campaign events Thursday and Friday, citing the storm.

"It's one of those situations where you're going to get heavy rain, catastrophic, life-threatening storm surge, and also the winds".

The first hurricane watches were issued for the SC and North Carolina coasts on Tuesday at 5 a.m.

Oliva said various models have the storm's eye making landfall anywhere between Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Cape Hatteras in the Outer Banks. Seven other UNC athletic events are also canceled or postponed because of Hurricane Florence.

The NHC warned that hurricane force winds may extend 65 kilometers from the center and tropical-storm-force winds may reach 240 kilometers outward.

Southwest Airlines said travelers booked to fly from six cities from Baltimore to SC can rebook their flights within 14 days of their original dates with no additional cost.

A warm ocean is the fuel that powers hurricanes, and Florence will be moving over waters where temperatures are peaking near 30 degrees Celsius, hurricane specialist Eric Blake wrote. It was the first time South Caroline has reversed its highways for an evacuation since Hurricane Floyd in 1999. Even if you've ridden out storms before, this one is different.

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