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States Prepare for ‘Storm of a Lifetime’ as Hurricane Florence Looms

States Prepare for ‘Storm of a Lifetime’ as Hurricane Florence Looms

"I've been through hurricanes before but never with kids", she said.

"The waves and the wind this storm may bring is nothing like you've ever seen".

Swells generated by Florence are already affecting Bermuda and portions of the US East Coast.

Similar declarations were made earlier in North and South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Some strengthening is forecast through Wednesday night, drawing energy from the warm water.

Florence is the most risky of three tropical systems in the Atlantic.

In the image, Hurricane Helene and Hurricane Isaac can be seen circling the Atlantic Ocean while Storm 95L is on a collision course for the Caribbean. Forecasters also were tracking two other disturbances. Florence was expected to bring very heavy storm surge, rain and flooding to the entire region on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. "In light of the storm's forecasted southward track after making landfall, I encourage Georgians to be prepared for the inland effects of the storm as well as the ensuing storm surge in coastal areas".

The News & Observer reports that the storm's path shifted early Wednesday and it is now bearing down on southern North Carolina and northern SC, where it could dump up to 40 inches of rain in places.

The $10 million transfer came not from disaster accounts but from a pot of money at headquarters, covering employee training, travel, purchase card expenses and the like. Homeland Security officials say the headquarters money is funded by a separate account altogether, and legally could not be spent for disaster relief.

"We will experience power outages, we will have infrastructure damaged, there will be homes damaged, and there will be debris on the roads", said Jeff Byard, an official from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

He says the time to flee Hurricane Florence is now.

It is expected to make landfall in the area later this week.

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"Today's the day", he said.

"I'm not approaching Florence from fear or panic", said Brad Corpening, 35, who planned to ride out the storm in his boarded-up delicatessen in Wilmington.

People fleeing coastal North and SC clogged highways Wednesday as Florence bore down for a direct hit in the low-lying region dense with beachfront vacation homes.

The official track has Florence hovering off the southern North Carolina coast from Thursday night until landfall Saturday morning or so, then veering south through SC and Georgia into Monday.

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The mayor of a SC city in the path of powerful Hurricane Florence is warning citizens to get out or stay "at your own peril".

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg told CNN on Wednesday that the almost 135,000 residents of his historic coastal city should leave now before the storm arrives later in the week.

It urged residents to heed evacuation orders.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned that staying put would be a grave mistake. Many areas in the low-lying city flood with routine rain storms, causing street closures and detours.

"Hurricane and storm surge watches now blanket much of the SC and North Carolina coasts, and enormous rainfall totals could be in store for coastal areas as well as inland".

That's saying a lot, given the impacts from Hurricanes Diana, Hugo, Fran, Bonnie, Floyd, and Matthew.

"Protection of life is the absolute highest priority", he added.

Hurricane Florence is now expected to head more directly west after making landfall, crossing through SC.

Florence, a category 4 hurricane, is now moving in a west-northwesterly direction at 17mph. Rain will continue through Sunday, dumping feet of water over a wide area. "Every county and every person in North Carolina needs to stay alert and take this storm seriously". Strengthening is forecast through Wednesday.

It was a potentially catastrophic Category 4 storm but was expected to keep drawing energy from the warm water and intensify to near Category 5, which means winds of 157 miles per hour (253 kph) or higher.

Florence is one of the strongest hurricanes on the eastern seaboard in decades, and will bring a triple threat of unsafe storm surge, flooding and hurricane-force winds in parts of the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic states.

"The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety ahead of Hurricane Florence", said Deal.

"This is a very fluid situation, especially now that new model runs are shifting the course of the storm south after landfall, potentially increasing its impact on SC and Georgia", St. Mary's Hospital spokesman Mark Ralston said.

Coastal residents along the Carolinas encountered empty gasoline pumps and depleted store shelves as the monster storm neared its coast with winds and drenching rain that could last for days.

More than 1 million people are under mandatory evacuations in the Carolinas and Virginia, and about 30 million across the Southeast will be affected if the forecast holds, CNN meteorologist Michael Guy said. A steady stream of vehicles filled with people and belongings is moving inland.


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