WHAT'S HAPPENING: Hurricane Florence looms over East Coast

A number of hurricane and tropical storm watches have been issued for Tropical Storm Isaac

A number of hurricane and tropical storm watches have been issued for Tropical Storm Isaac

Hurricane Florence is churning towards the USA east coast, prompting authorities to order more than a million people to evacuate the path of the extremely risky storm, which forecasters said could soon intensify.

At 2300 EDT (0300 GMT), the NHC said Florence had maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour (65 km), and was slowly drifting westward over SC.

Oddly, the closer Hurricane Florence gets to land, the murkier its future gets.

"For a meandering storm, the biggest concern - as we saw with Harvey - is the huge amount of rainfall", said Chris Landsea, chief of tropical analysis and forecast branch at the National Hurricane Center.

About 5.25 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million live in places covered by tropical storm warnings or watches, the National Weather Service said. The last major hurricane to impact the Carolinas was Hugo in 1989. "We've just never seen anything like this".

The Met Office issued two "yellow" alerts on Friday as the storm began creeping towards south-western corners of the United Kingdom and the tip of Ireland.

Transportation companies in Georgia and the Carolinas sprinted to secure property and employees in the path of Hurricane Florence on Wednesday as disruptions to the US supply chain were already being felt.

"Strength, track, and forward speed of Florence will be the major players in determining the scope and amount of rainfall and correspondingly the severity of inland flooding", according to AccuWeather forecaster Dan Kottlowski on September 12.

Jeff Byard, who is the FEMA associate administrator for the Office of Response and Recovery, said that Florence is "a very unsafe storm", Fox News reported.

Duke Energy Corp expected between 25 percent and 75 percent of its 4 million customers would lose power in the Carolinas.

As of 11 p.m. EDT Wednesday, the storm was centered 260 miles (455 kilometers) east southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, moving northwest at 17 mph (28 kph).

Tropical Storm Florence dumped "epic" amounts of rain on North and SC as it trudged inland on Saturday, knocking out power and causing at least eight deaths as flood waters that have devastated many communities kept rising.

Forecasters expected some strengthening today, as Florence marches west-north-west at around 13kmh.

Tens of thousands of homes and businesses could be flooded in North Carolina alone, Governor Cooper warned.

"But I'm staying", she said.

Nurse Barbara Mack was using a small shovel to fill sandbags at a public works facility in Charleston, but she saw a silver lining in the hurricane preparations.

Overall, unsafe storm surge is possible all the way from Edisto Beach, South Carolina, to the North Carolina/Virginia border.

Interestingly, the Atlantic Ocean housed three hurricanes at the same time, that before Tropical Storm Isaac being downgraded from its former hurricane status.

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