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U.S. east coast braced for catastrophic hurricane strike

U.S. east coast braced for catastrophic hurricane strike

Landfall is expected late Thursday or early Friday, and the National Hurricane Center fears the storm "will slow considerably or stall, leading to a prolonged and exceptionally heavy and risky rainfall event Friday-Sunday". McNoldy says "the rainfall has been and continues to be a very substantial threat over the entire area".

All three states ordered mass evacuations along the coast. "You're going to be displaced from your home in coastal areas".

No storm watches or warnings are in effect for Georgia.

The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Florence - with winds of up to 140 miles per hour - is expected to be "extremely dangerous" when it hits the East Coast early Friday.

That's saying a lot, given the impacts from Hurricanes Diana, Hugo, Fran, Bonnie, Floyd, and Matthew.

Historic and potentially catastrophic flooding is possible along with life-threating storm surges of up to 12 feet are possible along the coasts. For now, it appears 4 to 7 inches of rain could fall, but if the storms takes a more southerly track into SC that would reduce the rainfall. New projections indicate the now-Category 3 hurricane will move slightly southeast, with landfall expected between Wilmington and Morehead City, North Carolina.

As of 5:00 am (1100 GMT), Florence was a risky Category 4 hurricane packing sustained winds of 130 miles per hour (220 kilometers per hour), the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. Georgia is expected to see tropical storm-force winds and rain in some spots.

"But as we put the tracker on you can see by tomorrow morning we're still anticipating this will strengthen into the neighbourhood of 150mph".

Flooding is more life-threatening than wind damage.

As of 11:30 a.m., the current track of the storm has Hurricane Florence spinning 550 miles east-southeast of Charleston moving northwest at 15 mph. Strengthening is forecast through Wednesday. Sound unlikely? It's the same model that accurately predicted that last year's Hurricane Harvey, which also stalled over land, would drop 60 inches.

President Donald Trump declared states of emergency for North and SC and Virginia, opening the way for federal aid.

"The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety ahead of Hurricane Florence", Deal said.

Communities along the Carolina coast buttoned up against the onslaught of Hurricane Florence as forecasters on Wednesday (Thursday NZ Time) warned that the monstrous storm could hesitate just offshore for days - punishing a longer stretch of coastline harder than previously feared - before pushing inland over the weekend.

A number of other businesses, including Sam's Club, Lowe's, and a range of local retailers across North Carolina and SC, were shut down or were planning to shut down ahead of the storm.

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