Mass evacuations ordered as Hurricane Florence heads toward Carolinas

Mass evacuations ordered as Hurricane Florence heads toward Carolinas

"As we have seen with hurricanes in most recent years, such as Lane in Hawaii earlier this summer and Harvey last year in Texas, feet of rain can fall when these tropical storms stall", Sosnowski said. "Please be prepared, be careful and be SAFE!"

The exact path of Florence still has some uncertainty, but meteorologists appear increasingly confident the storm will make landfall along the coast of Carolinas or - possibly - Virginia.

Hurricane Florence neared Category 5 strength on Monday, forcing evacuations in coastal areas in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

Residents in eight counties along the coast - Jasper, Beaufort, Colleton, Charleston, Dorchester, Berkeley, Georgetown and Horry - must begin evacuating by noon Tuesday, McMaster said at a news briefing.

That means sustained winds of at least 130 miles per hour and expectations of catastrophic damage, the hurricane center says. "We're liable to have a whole lot of flooding".

The 2003 storm Hurricane Isabel, though it followed a slightly different track from Florence and the Chesapeake-Potomac, also side-swiped D.C. and caused tidal flooding in Navy Yard, according to the Washington Post.

Some tourists and residents were still outside enjoying pleasant weather as forecasters said computer models narrowed the grim target with clearer consensus.

However, the National Hurricane Center predicts it could rise to 150 miles per hour winds just before landfall sometime Thursday night. SC is one-waying several interstates including I-26 out of Charleston.

"It's not just the coast", Graham said. "I want to get them as far away as possible".

Also out for sandbags was Deborah LaRoche.

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"Based on current models, it's likely that the biggest impact will be to the Charlotte airport, which is an American Airlines hub", she said.

"Wind could move water into the tidal Potomac and the Chesapeake Bay", Pallozzi says, emphasizing that those flooding concerns will mainly be along the coastline of the rivers. "This one is different".

"We want to reiterate that yes, lots of the guidance is taking it toward northeast SC but we still need to be on guard with a turn more toward the Charleston area looking less likely at this point", Bright said late Monday morning.

It's now at a Category 4.

We are in communication with the National Weather Service, state and local authorities, the Southeastern Conference, Marshall University and schools that other programs that we compete against this week regarding potential weather issues. And Virginia's governor ordered a mandatory evacuation for some residents of low-lying coastal areas.

Authorities anxious about the storm's potential to unleash prolonged torrential rains and widespread flooding across several states, especially if it lingers inland for several days.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said his state is "in the bullseye" and urged people to "get ready now".

"I'm telling them to go inland, but I'm anxious about the rain and tornadoes too", Roberts said.

And the timing couldn't be more apt: Monday was the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season, when storm activity has historically been at its highest. She grew up on the shore, and says this will be only the second time she's evacuated. All emergency and major disaster declarations are made exclusively at the discretion of the President of the United States, according to FEMA.

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