Hurricane Florence: Residents told to 'heed the warnings'

NASA via Getty Images

NASA via Getty Images

Fierce winds and massive waves are expected to lash the coasts of North and SC and Virginia even before Florence makes landfall by early Friday, bringing a storm surge as much as 13 feet (4 meters), the National Hurricane Center in Miami warned.

Forecasts project the center of Florence to make landfall around the South and North Carolina border on Friday as a Category 3 or 4 hurricane.

As of 5:00 am (1100 GMT), Florence was a risky Category 4 hurricane packing sustained winds of 130 miles per hour (220 kilometers per hour), the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. Matthew's floods were devastating for many areas of eastern North Carolina.

Hurricane Florence put a corridor of more than 10 million people in the crosshairs Wednesday as the monster storm closed in on the Carolinas, uncertainty over its projected path spreading worry across a widening swath of the Southeast.

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

MacDougall is located in Berkeley County, one of five counties under a mandatory evacuation from the governor.

Federal Emergency Management Agency associate administrator Jeff Byard said: "This is not going to be a glancing blow".

The category four hurricane is set to bring with it heavy rains and winds of up to 225 kilometres per hour.




It could stall just off the coast and then drift south along the SC coast and possibly make a landfall as a weaker system if it doesn't make it clearly over the coast of North Carolina.

Some areas could get deluged with 20 inches of rain, Myers said.

Meanwhile the hurricane is forecast to dump one to two foot of rain that could cause flooding well inland and wreak environmental havoc by washing over industrial waste sites and farms.

"All offenders affected by the move will be allowed to make a free phone call to a family member over the weekend", he said. Sharp added that some areas could see flooding where he hasn't flooded before.

Michael Kennedy, an engineer at Boeing, said he planned to leave on Tuesday for his parents' home in Atlanta, Georgia. In South Carolina, close to the Georgia line, Beaufort County emergency chief Neil Baxley told residents they need to prepare again for the worst just in case.

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. Some 7,000 guard members are ready to mobilize in North Carolina, while 1,100 will be activated in SC.

Forecasters said parts of North Carolina could get 20in of rain, if not more, with as much as 10in elsewhere in the state and in Virginia, parts of Maryland and Washington DC.

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