Time's almost up: Fierce Hurricane Florence aims at southeastern U.S.

13 September, 2018, 11:16 | Author: Marie Harrington
  • Win McNamee  Getty Images

Large and risky, Hurricane Florence is drawing closer to the coast of the Carolinas, where it threatens to become the most intense storm to strike the region in at least 25 years, since Hugo.

The NHC said the first tropical storm-force winds of at least 39 miles per hour (63 kph) would hit the region early on Thursday with the storm's centre reaching the coast Friday.

Michelle Stober loaded up valuables at her home on Wrightsville Beach to drive back to her primary residence in Cary, North Carolina. "It wants to get stronger", he said of the storm. This storm is a slow-moving mammoth and will linger for days on the coast, heavily affecting not only North and SC but also Georgia and parts of Virginia before moving further inland, causing devastation to entire states throughout the weekend. About 1.7 million residents have been urged to flee from parts of North and SC.

An executive order from the Myrtle Beach City Manager says no one can go into the ocean as Hurricane Florence approaches.

The National Weather Service said 5.25 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million live in places covered by tropical storm warnings or watches. Nathan Deal issued an emergency declaration for the entire state to ease regulations on trucks hauling gasoline and relief supplies.

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In Virginia, where about 245,000 residents were ordered to evacuate low-lying areas, officials urged people to remain away from home despite forecast changes showing Florence's path largely missing the state.

Duke Energy, which says 1 to 3 million customers could experience power outages because of Florence, moved power restoration crews from other states including Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Florida to the region with hopes of addressing any power outages that occur as soon as possible.

As Florence churned across the Atlantic packing winds of 205km/h, President Donald Trump and state officials stepped up appeals to residents in the path of the monster storm to evacuate before it is too late. However, it was projected Wednesday that Florence would shift slightly to the south and possibly hit Georgia as well. All seven of North Carolina's ferry routes were shut down. "We just need to figure out how to make it through".

It has Hanover County Commissioner Woody White very anxious. "But no matter how bad it's going to be, it will pass and our job will be to rebuild this community together, and that's what we're going to do".

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