Evacuations Ordered as Hurricane Florence Aims at US East Coast

Mandatory evacuations issued for Outer Banks ahead of Florence

Florence Is A Hurricane Again, Projected To Hit East Coast At Near Category 4 Strength

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster ordered as many as one million residents of the state's entire eastern coastline to leave their homes starting at noon on Tuesday.

WILMINGTON - Hurricane Florence has strengthened into a Category 3 storm with sustained winds of 115 miles per hour, according to the 11 a.m. update from the National Hurricane Center.

States of emergency were declared by Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser for the nation's capital; requested by Virginia's governor; and approved by President Donald Trump for North and SC.

The National Hurricane Center says storm surge from Hurricane Florence could be up to 13 feet in some areas of North Carolina.

The mayor of Washington, DC also has declared a state of emergency as the nation's capital prepares for heavy rains, flooding and power outages related to Hurricane Florence.

Additionally, Hurricane Florence is expected to slow as it approaches the coast, producing significant rainfall, leading to flooding north and south of its track. Coastal areas are at greatest risk of seeing sustained winds to 100+mph and gusts well above that.

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Florence is heading toward the southeastern USA - with an unusual journey. This includes cities in the path of Florence such as Wilmington and Cape Hatteras in North Carolina and Norfolk, Virginia.

Fort Sumter National Monument, located in South Carolina's Charleston Harbor, is closed until further notice due to the hurricane threat, according to the National Park Service.

Cooper said local governments are typically responsible for issuing evacuation orders in North Carolina, and some localities have already issued orders to evacuate.

"I'm telling them to go inland, but I'm anxious about the rain and tornadoes too", Roberts said.

Meanwhile, games affecting Major League Baseball pennant races likely will be impacted by Florence.

Predictions that Florence will slow to a crawl and linger for days with its torrential downpours is raising the specter of Hurricane Harvey which hit Houston, Texas with what can only be described as "Biblical" rains previous year -50 inches or more.

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"I don't want to be an alarmist, but as we look at storms of the past, there are parts of what we see in Florence that could fall out that way", Barnes said.

Florence is a category 4 hurricane with winds at 130 miles per hour as of 8 a.m. Seven-day rainfall totals are forecast to reach 10 to 20 inches over much of North Carolina and Virginia, and even 30 inches in some places. American Airlines is also letting travelers in the Caribbean change tickets ahead of Tropical Storm Isaac.

Forecasters have warned the hurricane is expected to strengthen through Tuesday evening into Wednesday, but weaken on Thursday.

"If you are now under an evacuation order, we strongly urge you to be cognizant, heed the warning and evacuate", Byard said.

Hurricane Florence could create environmental and public health concerns with heavy rains expected to hit areas where toxic waste and animal manure are stored.

Hurricane Florence: Headed To North Carolina As Category 4 Storm
According the US-based National Hurricane Centre at 1pm, the storm had maximum sustained winds of 130mph. Forecasters said it now has maximum sustained winds of about 130 miles per hour and even stronger gusts.

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