The powerful Hurricane Florence threatened to bring "days and days" of rain and potentially deadly flooding to the US southeast coast, North Carolina's governor warned on Tuesday, as some 1 million people were ordered to evacuate their homes.
Hurricane Florence intensified rapidly to a category 4 storm Monday with sustained winds of 140 miles per hour., tracking toward the North Carolina coast with an expected landfall as early as Thursday.
Governors in Virginia and both Carolinas declared a state of emergency over the weekend, and the National Hurricane Center said Monday that the storm's effects could reach as far as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Gov. Henry McMaster has issued a mandatory evacuation of South Carolina's coastal counties, including Beaufort and Jasper, beginning at noon Tuesday as Hurricane Florence gains strength in the Atlantic.
A mandatory evacuation order takes effect Tuesday at noon in eight counties along South Carolina's 187-mile coastline.
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O'Connell described the piece of rock that fell as being as big as a four-storey building, crashing down onto the beach . He continued: "I thought more was coming and with the size of the waves coming towards me I just started running".
Announcing his evacuation order, SC governor Henry McMaster said an estimated one million people would be fleeing the coast.
The National Weather Service says more than 5.4 million people live in areas now under hurricane warnings or watches on the U.S. East Coast.
The HuffPost reports‚ "televangelist Pat Robertson broke out a prayer that sounded more like a wizard's spell as he attempted to block the approach of Hurricane Florence".
Mass evacuations were ordered along the U.S. Atlantic Coast as Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 storm and the most powerful to menace the region in almost three decades, barreled toward the region on Tuesday.
Florence could hit the Carolinas harder than any hurricane since Hazel packed 209kmh winds in 1954. The president has spoken to the governors of both Carolinas and Virginia, the White House said Monday.
Sustained winds Monday afternoon were up to 140 miles per hour. She said it was built in 2009 in Buxton, North Carolina, up on a ridge, and made to withstand a hurricane. That storm killed as many as 3,000 people and left the entire island without power for weeks and in some locations months.
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Numerous calls are from residents who are trapped in their homes, some of whom reported floodwater rising up to the second floor. September 14, 2018. "If you've ever doubted the destructiveness of a hurricane, what's happening here will make you a believer".
Gov. Roy Cooper issued a State of Emergency on Friday in anticipation of the hurricane.
The office of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam predicted "catastrophic inland flooding, high winds and possible widespread power outages".
Download the "Ready NC" app Ready NC app or follow NC Emergency Management on Facebook and Twitter for weather updates and to learn how you can prepare for the storm. Forecasters also were tracking two other disturbances.
Residents of the Isle of Palms, S.C., fill sand bags at the Isle of Palms municipal lot where the city was giving away free sand in preparation for Hurricane Florence at the Isle of Palms, South Carolina, Monday, Sept. 10, 2018.
The coastal surge from Florence could leave the eastern tip of North Carolina under more than 9 feet of water in spots, projections showed.
"It just kind of hits you in the gut when you see this thing strengthening and know that the forecast is calling for it to come in as such a strong storm", he told CNN on Monday after his third flight.
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Hurricane Isaac - which late on Sunday became the fifth hurricane of the season - is heading west towards the Caribbean.