McMaster to SC coast: ‘Leave now’ ahead of Hurricane Florence

A North Carolina hog farm and its waste lagoon following Hurricane Floyd in 1999

A North Carolina hog farm and its waste lagoon following Hurricane Floyd in 1999

Fountain said most storms are an inconvenience, "but Hurricane Florence will be a life-changing event for many people here in the Carolinas". Myrtle Beach is within an area under a hurricane warning that ran from South Santee River, South Carolina, to Duck, North Carolina, at 2pm local time.

A hurricane hunter with the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) flew into the category three Hurricane Florence and reported back Wednesday what he was seeing.

Late Wednesday, the storm had weakened slightly to a Category 2 hurricane with winds of 110 miles per hour (175 kph) as it approaches the North and SC coasts. Elsewhere, in the Appalachians and Mid-Atlantic states, Florence is expected to produce 3 to 6 inches of rain.

"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 trend is "exceptionally bad news", said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy, since it "smears a landfall out over hundreds of miles of coastline, most notably the storm surge".

Since moving south, she has lived through many hurricanes but did not want to chance anything with Hurricane Florence.

Mr Trump was later briefed in the Oval Office in front of TV cameras by Brock Long, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema).

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However, late Tuesday the track of Hurricane Florence shifted south, creating uncertainty over how much impact the Lowcountry counties will see from the storm.

Duke Energy told The Associated Press that damage from Hurricane Florence could cut off electricity to three-quarters of some 4 million customers in the Carolinas.

Computer simulations - especially the often star-performing European model - push the storm further south, even into SC and Georgia.

Schools and businesses closed as far south as Georgia, airlines canceled more than 1,500 flights, and coastal towns in the Carolinas were largely emptied out. The hurricane center also adjusted its projected track but stayed north of what most computer models were showing to prove some continuity with past forecasts.

"It's going to be bad", said Woody White, chairman of the New Hanover County Commissioners.

"I feel just as safe at home as I would at a shelter", Batts said. Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles (130 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles (315 kilometers).

First responders around the country are making their way to Wrightsville Beach. Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storm's aftermath, it said.

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