3 million could lose power when Hurricane Florence hits

ECU football team relocates to Orlando ahead of Florence

ECU football team relocates to Orlando ahead of Florence

"Sheriff Tanner (and others) have said, if you are in an area that usually floods - if you are in a low-lying area that is not in an evacuation zone - go ahead and leave and find higher ground because you may be in danger", McMaster said.

The storm was heading for the coast of North and SC but heavy rain was also expected in Virginia to the north and Georgia to the south.

It's been an especially active start to the Atlantic hurricane season, as parts of North and SC are now bracing for impact from a major Category 3 Storm.

At the White House, President Donald Trump both touted the government's readiness and urged people to get out of the way of Florence. Although wind speeds have dropped - Florence was a Category 4 on Monday with 140 miles per hour winds - the National Hurricane Center warned wind fields are still expanding, and the hurricane has more total energy, which will "create a significant storm-surge event".

Florence's nighttime winds were down to 115 miles per hour (185 kph) from a high of 140 miles per hour (225 kph), and the Category 4 storm fell to a Category 3, with a further slow weakening expected as the storm nears the coast.

Updated NHC forecasts showed the storm lingering near the coast of the Carolinas, carrying days of heavy rains that could bring intense inland flooding from SC to Virginia.

Hurricane Florence Produces Wind Gusts Near 100 miles per hour in Eastern North Carolina
Mayor Joe Benson said the storm will batter the oceanside town through two high-tide periods. Here's why this storm threatens not only the coast but millions of people inland.

Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency for the state of Georgia: "in light of the storm's forecasted southward track after making landfall".

The message from North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper to residents was bleak.

"Do you want to get hit with a train or do you want to get hit with a cement truck?" said Jeff Byard, an administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. "Hurricane Florence will be a life-changing event for many people in the Carolinas".

In Wilmington, Solange Iliou Thompson closed down her restaurant, Indochine, because all of her employees had left the city. "The building's solid and Buddha will protect us".

"Everything is packed", Espinoza said. "If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have minded staying here".

Many coastal towns have already instituted mandatory evacuation orders.

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