State and county departments prepare for impacts of Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence: What you need to know to stay safe

Hurricane Florence: What you need to know to stay safe

Hurricane Florence intensified rapidly to a category 4 storm Monday with sustained winds of 140 miles per hour., tracking toward the North Carolina coast with an expected landfall as early as Thursday.

"On the forecast track, the center of Florence will approach the coasts of North and SC later [Thursday night], then move near or over the coast of southern North Carolina and northeastern SC in the hurricane warning area on Friday", the NHC said.

Florence is so wide that a life-threatening storm surge was being pushed 480km ahead of its eye, swirling clouds that could deluge states from SC to OH and Pennsylvania as it slows and then stalls over land.

The governor of neighbouring North Carolina also ordered an evacuation of the Outer Banks, barrier islands that are a popular tourist destination, and parts of coastal Dare County, while a state of emergency was declared in Virginia.

A mandatory evacuation order takes effect Tuesday at noon in eight counties along South Carolina's 187-mile coastline.

"Pretend, assume, presume that a major hurricane is going to hit right smack dab in the middle of South Carolina and is going to go way inshore", South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said.

Even if Florence hits as "only" a Category 3 hurricane, it will still cause "devastating damage".

According to prediction models from the National Hurricane Center, the storm is projected to make landfall between Nags Head, North Carolina, and Charleston, South Carolina.

Major US military installments may be in the path of the Florence, including the largest Marine base at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and the world's biggest Navy base in Norfolk, Virginia. North Carolina seems to be the state that could bear the brunt of the winds, along with SC and parts of southern Virginia.

In a 5 p.m. EDT update from the NHC, the storm's winds rose to 140 miles per hour, and it picked up speed in its westward track, doubling its speed from Sunday to 13 miles per hour. Many more were left to wonder where they might be safe if days of torrential rains unleash floods from the mountains to the sea.

With a mandatory evacuation order in place, St. Joseph's/Candler will be closing all practices in SC.

Download the Ready NC app or follow NC Emergency Management on Facebook and Twitter for weather updates and to learn how you can prepare for the storm.

The element will lead to a "life-threatening storm surges, exceptionally strong heavy rains and destructive winds", they say.

The Snow's Cut Bridge, which is the only point of entry to the island, will close once winds reach 45 miles per hour at the structure, Mayor Joe Benson said.

Melody Rawson evacuated her first-floor apartment in Myrtle Beach and arrived at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia, to camp for free with three other adults, her disabled son, two dogs, and a pet bird.

Hurricane Florence as seen from the International Space Station on Monday afternoon. Roberts said he's telling them to get out of town.

In North Carolina, coastal evacuations were also underway late Monday - with more scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

"This one really scares me", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham warned.

Hurricane Isaac is moving toward the Caribbean and could make landfall Thursday as a Category 1 hurricane.

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