West Point area could start to feel effects of Hurricane Florence Thursday

Here's what causes extreme damage in hurricanes

Hurricane Florence is packing sustained winds of 140 miles (220 km) per hour and remains an "extremely dangerous" Category 4 storm as it approaches the United States eastern coastline, specifically the Carolinas.

Their entire neighborhood evacuated in Wilmington, North Carolina, David and Janelle Garrigus planned to ride out Florence at their daughter's one-bedroom apartment in Charlotte.

"You put your life at risk by staying", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said. For example, the seas off of Wilmington, North Carolina have risen 7.5 inches since 1935, according to NOAA.

The eye was about 530 miles southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, moving west-northwest at 17 miles per hour.

The coastal surge from Florence could leave the eastern tip of North Carolina under more than 9 feet (2.75 meters) of water in spots, projections showed. For now, it appears 4 to 7 inches of rain could fall, but if the storms takes a more southerly track into SC that would reduce the rainfall.

The category four hurricane is set to bring with it heavy rains and winds of up to 225 kilometres per hour.

More than 1.5 million people have been ordered to evacuate along 300 miles of coastline.

"Watch out, America! Hurricane Florence is so enormous, we could only capture her with a super wide-angle lens from the Space Station", European astronaut Alexander Gerst said in a tweet.

Utilities deployed crews and gear in advance, with workers en route to the region from at least 15 states, according to trade group, the Edison Electric Institute. All lanes of Interstate 26 are westbound to allow more people to leave the coast and head inland toward the state capital of Columbia. Eight dogs and 18 cats from a shelter in Norfolk, Virginia, were sent to two shelters in Washington to make room for pets expected to be displaced by the hurricane. A hospital in Hampton, Virginia, was transferring patients to safer places.

'Not a pretty sight': Hurricane Florence has experts anxious
Next week, when Florence has finally passed the Carolinas and moved into the Ohio Valley, the rain will have been the big story. Carla Mahaffee said she would be riding out the storm with friends, as they do during every hurricane.

Deal's declaration Wednesday covers comes as the National Weather Service's storm forecast shows a chance that Florence's track might turn toward the southwest as it approaches the Carolinas later this week. He said the federal government is "absolutely, totally prepared" for Florence.

"Do you want to get hit with a train or do you want to get hit with a cement truck?" said Jeff Byard, an administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Boeing Co suspended work on Tuesday at the SC plant where it assembles 787 widebody jetliners, and a Volvo automobile plant in South Carolina's evacuation zone was also closed, company officials said.

"This will likely be the storm of a lifetime for portions of the Carolina coast, and that's saying a lot given the impacts we've seen from Hurricanes Diana, Hugo, Fran, Bonnie, Floyd and Matthew", it said.

"This one really scares me", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said.

As Graham says, "just because you have a landfall to your south doesn't mean you're out of the woods, because the winds are huge around this system".

"Where alse can we go?"

Experts say the lagoons should be able to handle about 3 feet of rain, but hog farmers, who have been trying to pump manure out of the ponds and spray it on fields as fertilizer, aren't convinced.

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