NASA showed how it looks from space a hurricane "Florence"
14 September, 2018, 14:08
Henry McMaster ordered an evacuation of the state's entire coast starting at noon Tuesday ahead of Hurricane Florence, leaving residents of Beaufort County wondering if they will be able to return to their homes if they choose to stay this week.
"It just kind of hits you in the gut when you see this thing strengthening and know that the forecast is calling for it to come in as such a strong storm", he told CNN on Monday after his third flight.
That means the hurricane will be dumping rain over multiple East Coast states, and it's not just a coastal problem.
It was picking up speed over the Atlantic's warm waters, causing concerns about landfall and flooding from heavy rains afterward, possibly late Thursday or Friday. The state's governor, Roy Cooper, says there are three threats - ocean surges along the coast, strong winds and island flooding.
The storm was edging closer to the United States and was 975 miles (1570km) east-south-east of Cape Fear, North Carolina.
In North Carolina, coastal evacuations were also underway late Monday - with more scheduled to begin on Tuesday.
"We don't want to gamble with a single SC life", McMaster (above) said. As many as a million people could leave the coast, the governor said.
If Hurricane Florence lands as a powerhouse Category 4 storm along the East Coast later this week, the damage could be extensive - and long-lasting.
After weakening earlier in the day, Hurricane Florence regained its punch as evening approached. "We live paycheck to paycheck, being a military family, and it's four days until payday". "This helps everyone find vital information more easily".
Similar scenes were repeated up and down the US East Coast, from Virginia to Savannah, Georgia. By 2 p.m., the previously calm surf began to show some chop.
The size of the hurricane-force winds doubled over 12 hours from 30 to 60 mph, the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said Monday afternoon.
By noon EDT on Monday, Florence had top sustained winds of 130 miles per hour.
Some tourists and residents were still outside enjoying pleasant weather as forecasters said computer models narrowed the grim target with clearer consensus.
Florence is expected to be an extremely unsafe major hurricane through Thursday night.
The only Category 5 hurricanes to hit the USA were Andrew in 1992, Camille in 1969 and an unnamed "Labor Day" hurricane in 1935. "Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed". Electricity and power can go out for days.
On North Carolina's Outer Banks, Dawn Farrow Taylor, 50, was gathering photos and important documents and filling prescriptions Monday before heading inland.
The state has issued mandatory evacuations. The storm is moving west-northwest at 15 miles per hour.
People were preparing for the worst, even if they didn't evacuate.
"Action today can avoid losses due to Florence", he said.
The last Category 4 storm to hit the Carolinas was Hugo, which barrelled into Charleston, South Carolina, in 1989. Two other storms also are churning in the Atlantic.
Hurricane Isaac continues to move west and is expected to reach the eastern Caribbean Sea by Thursday.
The eastbound lane of Interstate 26 into Charleston and Route 501 into Myrtle Beach will be reversed beginning Tuesday when the order takes effect, McMaster said at a Monday news conference.
During a typical Atlantic hurricane season, the bulk of hurricanes are steered by a high-pressure system that sits around Bermuda.
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Intensifying Hurricane Florence could strike US Southeast
McMaster said he had asked President Donald Trump to declare a federal emergency in SC in anticipation of the storm's arrival. Florence is not now expected to impact metro Atlanta, as the storm is now forecast to remain northeast of the area.
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