Hurricane Florence approaching Carolina coast, will move west this weekend

S Hurricane Florence approaches the Outer Banks and Hampton Roads

S Hurricane Florence approaches the Outer Banks and Hampton Roads

Mandatory evacuation orders were in effect for much of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia as Category 3 Hurricane Florence bore down on the states.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency warned that storm surge watches and warnings are in effect Wednesday for the entire North Carolina coast and parts of SC.

Catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding are likely over portions of the Carolinas and the southern and central Appalachians late this week and early into next week.

"Although slow weakening is expected to begin by late Thursday, Florence is still forecast to be an extremely unsafe major hurricane when it nears the USA coast late Thursday and Friday".

As of 2 a.m. Thursday, was about 235 miles east southeast of Wilmington, N.C., and about 280 miles east southeast of Myrtle Beach, S.C., moving northwest at 17 mph. REUTERS/Randall HillGordon Roberts works to prepare his oceanfront home ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, U.S. September 12, 2018.

So far, it's estimate more than 1.7 million Americans have heeded the warnings about Hurricane Florence.

"We stacked about three different layers, just kind of like to help with the windows, keep them safe, break up the wind channels so the building doesn't take a direct hit from 150 miles per hour winds", said Matthews Motors service manager Mark Yandell. Airlines had canceled almost 1,000 flights and counting. Home Depot and Lowe's activated emergency response centers to get generators, trash bags and bottled water to stores before and after the storm.


"I'm lucky to be here today, but wherever they're going to send me I'm going".

Duke Energy Corp expected between 25 percent and 75 percent of its 4 million customers would lose power in the Carolinas. Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storm's aftermath, it said.

Boarding up his home in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Chris Pennington watched the forecasts and tried to decide when to leave. Adding to the storm stress is uncertainty about where exactly Florence will make landfall, after a shift in its track put more of the Southeast in danger.

As people are migrating south to escape the storm, Red Cross employees and Coast Guard personnel from Jacksonville headed the other way Wednesday to assignments from SC to Virginia. Unsure of what they might find when they return home, the couple went shopping for a recreational vehicle.

Lumberton is less than two hours from Myrtle Beach and Wilmington, places that have been urged to evacuate.

Forecasters anxious the storm's damage will be all the worse if it lingers on the coast. "You feel like you should have already left".

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