Mass evacuations ordered as Hurricane Florence approaches US

A North Myrtle Beach Police officer warns a beachgoer about the dangers of remaining on the beach as Hurricane Florence moves closer and conditions worsen in North Myrtle Beach South Carolina

A North Myrtle Beach Police officer warns a beachgoer about the dangers of remaining on the beach as Hurricane Florence moves closer and conditions worsen in North Myrtle Beach South Carolina

The big slosh has begun, and the consequences could be disastrous.

The centre of Florence, a slow-moving Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, is expected to strike North Carolina late Thursday or early Friday and could drift southwest along the coast before turning inland, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Tens of thousands were without power.

Winds and rain were arriving later in SC, and a few people were still walking on the sand at Myrtle Beach while North Carolina was getting pounded. Heavy rainfall began after dark.

North Carolina residents rushed to stack up on food, water, toilet paper and other necessities as "monster" Hurricane Florence is set to touchdown in the state early this weekend.

Three feet of storm surge moving onto the coastline will result in higher tides and higher water moving onshore.

Florence's top winds were clocked on Thursday evening at 90 miles per hour (150 km/h) as it churned in the Atlantic Ocean, down from a peak of 140 miles per hour (224 km/h) earlier this week when it was classified as a Category 4 storm.

UAE residents and tourists in the U.S. have been issued a warning by the UAE Embassy in Washington to be cautious of Hurricane Florence. At this time, Florence was a Category 1 hurricane.

"The time to prepare is nearly over", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a morning news conference. "Today the threat becomes a reality". Predictions are for Florence to be far more violent storm. Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire.

Florence is bearing down with such strength that forecasters say she may literally reshape the Carolina coastline.

Skerrit said that while the latest weather bulletin has indicated that Isaac is now a tropical storm, he was reminding citizens that in 2015, tropical storm Erika killed at least 20 people, caused floods and mudslides that have set the country back 20 years. "We're kind of at the mercy of the storm".

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- President Donald Trump on Wednesday urged those living in the path of Hurricane Florence to comply with all evacuation orders and emergency instructions.

Around midday, Spanish moss blew sideways in the trees as the winds increased in Wilmington, and floating docks bounced atop swells at Morehead City.

"I've never been one to leave for a storm but this one kind of had me spooked", Epperson said. "Because it's Mother Nature". That's enough water to fill the Empire State Building almost 40,000 times.

"This storm will bring in more rain that Hurricane Matthew did", said FOX8 Meteorologist Emily Byrd.

And there's "a huge difference" in the size and type of damage Florence inflicts if it stays 50 miles (80 kilometers) off shore versus heading inland immediately, Landsea said. If you do, move to a higher ground before the storm arrives.

Utility officials have warned that widespread power outages are likely and that it could take weeks to restore electricity.

The first tropical storm-force winds were forecast to hit the coast on Thursday.

As hurricane-force winds approach the coast, they'll push the ocean's waves ashore, causing storm surges of up to 13 feet (4 meters) in parts of North Carolina, the National Hurricane Center reported.

Scientists said it is too soon to say what role, if any, global warming played in the storm.

Forecasters anxious the storm's damage will be all the worse if it lingers on the coast. Volvo is coordinating with parts suppliers so it will be ready to resume production, according to Datz, who said he wasn't sure how long the plant would be down. "I've got four cats inside the house". "I would go visit a relative somewhere away from the shoreline".

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