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Plane flies through Hurricane Florence and emerges in eye of the storm

Plane flies through Hurricane Florence and emerges in eye of the storm

Hurricane Florence is gearing up to pound the eastern US coastline as it racks up maximum winds of 220 km/h, making it an "extremely dangerous" storm system which strength is only expected to grow.

SC and North Carolina have ordered evacuations for people living in vulnerable areas along the coast.

"I am planning for the worst and hoping for the best", said Judy Anthony, the manager of the SPCA shelter, which is in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

Gov. Roy Cooper said Tuesday that he had issued a first-of-its-kind state evacuation to help prompt residents of the barrier islands, including the Outer Banks, to leave.

Forecast to make landfall late Thursday or early Friday between Charleston, South Carolina, and Norfolk, Virginia, the hurricane is for now rated as a Category 4 storm, with winds of 130 to 156 miles an hour.

The nearly 500-mile wide storm swirling towards the United States east coast "could be the most unsafe storm in the history of the Carolinas", the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) administrator, Brock Long, warned on Tuesday afternoon.

"This storm is going to knock out power days into weeks".

President TrumpDonald John TrumpOakland Raiders's Marshawn Lynch sits during national anthem, then scores touchdown Trump declares state of emergency in Carolinas ahead of Hurricane Florence Ex-NFL player tears into Nike: Kaepernick ad "like 9/11 and Pearl Harbor" MORE on Tuesday declared a state of emergency in Virginia in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Florence.

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As of Tuesday morning, the storm is located 900 miles southeast of North Carolina's coast, and advancing at a relatively rapid speed of 16 miles per hour.

A hurricane watch is in effect for Edisto Beach, South Carolina to South Santee River, South Carolina and North of Duck, North Carolina to the North Carolina-Virginia border. "One thing we do know is when you replace natural vegetation with parking lots and homes and impervious surfaces, you increase the runoff".

More than one million people have been told to evacuate their homes, with many buildings boarded up. 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.

"This storm is unlike any of the others we faced while there". Isaac became a tropical storm again approaching the Caribbean, while Hurricane Helene was veering northward, no threat to land.

"Because [Florence is] such a large storm, as well as such an intense storm, by tomorrow afternoon, the coastline will probably start to feel tropical storm-force winds".

Half a dozen nuclear power plants, pits holding coal-ash and numerous hog farms are on the storm's path.

Kathleen O'Neal, a resident of Ocracoke Island in North Carolina's Barrier Islands, said she, her husband and son would ride out the storm.

"I'm prayed up and as ready as I can get", Steven Hendrick said as he filled up gasoline cans near Conway, South Carolina.