Evacuations Ordered as Hurricane Florence Aims at US East Coast

Traffic flow on all roads and highways in the Carolinas have been reset to one way- out of the coastal regions into the interior

Florence is now a Category 4 storm, packing 130 mile-per-hour winds, according to an 11 a.m. update from the U.S. Hurricane Center, and it may soon re-strengthen to near Category 5 levels.

The life-threatening storm is now located about 905 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, and is moving at a speed of 16 mph.

Now a Category 4 hurricane packing 140 mile-per-hour winds, Florence is due to make landfall somewhere in the Carolinas late Friday or Saturday.

Hurricane Florence remained a fierce Category 4 hurricane Tuesday morning after doubling in size a day earlier as it churned toward the Carolina coast.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued a state evacuation order Monday for that state's coastal residents.

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.

In addition to flooding the coast with wind-driven storm surges of seawater as high as 12 feet (3.7 m), Florence could drop 20 inches to as much as 30 inches (51 cm to 76 cm) of rain in places, forecasters said.

Last week, Florence became the first major hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic season but was downgraded to a tropical storm Friday.

Florence to become powerful hurricane Monday
Hurricane Florence was located about 750 miles southeast or Bermuda and about 610 miles northeast of the Northern Leeward Islands. Two more storms named Helene and Isaac are following behind Florence, according to Fox , but are expected to be less threatening.

For many people, the challenge could be finding a safe refuge: If Florence slows to a crawl just off the coast, it could bring torrential rains to the Appalachian mountains and as far away as West Virginia, causing flash floods, mudslides and other risky conditions. While wind damage is still ordinarily covered, insurers that were stung by storms such as Sandy in 2012, which swamped NY and New Jersey, have inserted clauses in their policies that limit coverage and set high deductibles, particularly when storms reach hurricane status.

"Additional watches may be required later today", said the National Hurricane Center, warning inland areas have as much to worry about as the coast.

How are you preparing for Hurricane Florence?

The storm is expected to threaten the Carolinas and Virginia.

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. "It is an extremely unsafe, life-threatening, historic hurricane", Cooper said at a news conference outlining state preparations in advance of the storm.

Florence could hit the Carolinas harder than any hurricane since Hazel packed 209 km/h winds in 1954. The crew gathers information on wind speeds, wind direction, pressure, temperature and humidity to help NOAA make more accurate forecasts of the storm's intensity and path. This will likely be one of the strongest hurricanes ever to make landfall on the East Coast north of Florida.

Residents of the eastern United States - particularly the Carolinas and Virginia - are bracing for a hurricane, as Hurricane Florence gathers power while forming over the Atlantic.

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