'Life-Threatening' Hurricane Florence Closes In On US East Coast

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Closing in with terrifying winds of 130 miles per hour (215 kph) and potentially catastrophic rain and storm surge, Florence is expected to blow ashore Saturday morning along the North Carolina-South Carolina line, the National Hurricane Center said.

If Hurricane Florence's predicted track holds, it will be the first Category 4 storm to make landfall directly on the North Carolina coast.

Latest forecasts Wednesday afternoon showed Florence stalling once it comes ashore near the North Carolina-South Carolina border, possibly drifting southwest and setting parts of the Carolinas up for potentially devastating flooding.

The latest projections of Florence, now a Category 4 storm, show it shifting south putting Georgia in its possible path.

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

U.S. capital under state of emergency, evacuation ordered
But his partner, Emily Whisler, said she will remain behind at the university where she is a resident in the psychiatry program. At 11pm Tuesday local time, the storm was centred 1,075km southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, moving at 28kph.

"This is not going to be a glancing blow", said Jeff Byard, an administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. "When you slow a system down that has tropical water with it, it is just going to dump rain".

The NHC said Florence is expected to be an "extremely unsafe major hurricane" when it makes landfall in the Carolinas late Thursday or early Friday, bringing life-threatening storm surge to coastal areas.

While Hurricane Florence has sparked state of emergency and mass evacuation, a very unfortunate weather graphic has managed to put a smile on those preparing for the storm.

More than 1 million residents have been ordered to evacuate the coastline of the three states, while university campuses, schools and factories were being shuttered.

The forecasters also expect that there will be a 90 percent chance of tropical storm force winds for parts of the storm. The storm is now about 950 miles from the Carolina coast line, but moving in that direction at about 15 mph. So we could have two landfalls - one around Wilmington and then one near Myrtle Beach or even south of there. Sharp added that some areas could see flooding where he hasn't flooded before.

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However, the shift could place much of North Carolina on the storm's right side - or "dirty side".

Catastrophic floods could follow if the storm stalls inland, it said.

To hasten evacuations from coastal SC, officials reversed the flow of traffic on some highways so all major roads led away from shore.

"We hope to have something left when we get home", she said. Winds from the east have been causing coastal flooding this week along the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, with high tides as much as 2 feet above normal in Anne Arundel, Calvert and St. Mary's counties.

Seven-day rainfall totals are forecast to reach 10 to 20 inches over much of North Carolina and parts of SC, with as much as 30 inches in some places.

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Hurricane Florence is now a massive Category 4 hurricane. Some 7,000 guard members are ready to mobilize in North Carolina, while 1,100 will be activated in SC.

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