More than 1 million to flee as Florence rips toward East Coast

NC rep asks Trump for expedited disaster declaration ahead of Hurricane Florence

Its center will move between Bermuda and the Bahamas Tuesday and Wednesday, and approach the coast of SC or North Carolina on Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said. "Storm Surge and Hurricane watches could be issued for portions of these areas by Tuesday (Sept. 11) morning", said the NHC in the update.

The storm "is too powerful and its path is too uncertain to take any chances", SC governor Henry McMaster said, issuing his state's emergency declaration.

The first effects of what forecasters are already calling a large and extremely unsafe hurricane were already being seen on barrier islands Monday as risky rip currents and seawater flowed over the state highway.

"North Carolina is taking Hurricane Florence seriously and you should too", said Governor Cooper.

"Hurricane Florence is the strongest storm to target the Carolinas and this part of our country in decades", said Jeff Byard, FEMA's associate administrator for the Office of Response and Recovery.

If Florence slows to a crawl just off the coast, it could bring torrential rains to the Appalachian mountains and as far away as West Virginia, causing flash floods, mudslides and other risky conditions.

After Florence makes landfall, that ridge, now over Washington and NY, will move east - but be replaced by another one forming over the Great Lakes that will likely keep the storm stuck, McNoldy said.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster ordered the mandatory evacuation of the state's entire 187-mile coastline beginning at noon Tuesday.

"This is a very unsafe hurricane", McMaster said, adding that the evacuation order for coastal counties was "mandatory, not voluntary".

Warmer than normal sea temperatures to add energy and rain to a storm.

As Paul Flaherty flew over Hurricane Florence, he didn't like what he was seeing. Forecast models suggest that more than 2 feet of rain could fall over the higher elevations of the Carolinas and Virginia, which would generate unsafe flooding downstream.

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Floods, landslides and huge waves could put millions at risk as Typhoon Mangkhut hurtles towards the Philippines and Hong Kong. Typhoon Haiyan left more than 7,300 people dead or missing and displaced over five million in the central Philippines in 2013.

McMaster said the state will reverse lanes on four main roads - so that all lanes are leading away from the coast - to facilitate the evacuation.

By way of comparison, the maximum intensity of Hurricane Maria, the storm system which path of destruction left nearly 3,000 people dead in Puerto Rico, was 277.8 km/h, (150 knots), the NHC said.

"It's really hard to speculate this far out, since there's still significant uncertainty in the track", Sara Orsi, spokeswoman for flight-tracking service FlightAware, said about how Florence might impact flights after landfall.

"The threat will be inland, so I'm afraid, based on my experience at FEMA, that the public is probably not as prepared as everybody would like", said Craig Fugate, former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

In Holden Beach, North Carolina, in the storm's path, longtime residents were busy securing their homes and possessions. "We know we can't play around with this", said Jennifer Oosterwyk, who owns the Sugar Britches boutique on Holden Beach and lives in nearby Wilmington.

"Florence is expected to be an extremely unsafe major hurricane through Thursday (Sept. 13)", said officials. "We don't want to risk one SC life".

As of Tuesday, Florence was driving sustained winds up to 140 miles per hour.

Maximum wind speeds were 140mph with hurricane-force winds extending up to 40 miles (65km) from the centre.

Maximum sustained winds were clocked at 140 miles per hour (220 kph) as it moved west-northwest at 13 miles per hour (20 kph).

South Carolina National Guard soldiers transfer bulk diesel fuel into fuel tanker trucks for distribution in advance of Hurricane Florence, in North Charleston, South Carolina, U.S. September 10, 2018.

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