'This storm is a monster' - 1.7 million flee from 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

Dominica is still recovering from the battering it took last September when Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 storm slammed into the island, killing more than 30 people and leaving a trail of destruction estimated at millions of dollars.

"This will likely be the storm of a lifetime for portions of the Carolina coast", the National Weather Service in Wilmington, North Carolina, wrote in its Tuesday evening area forecast discussion, adding in a Wednesday report that flooding in southeast North Carolina and northeast SC could be "unprecedented".

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. For those in any region that is forecasted to get around or above 4 to 6 inches of rain, take special note.

"I'm very concerned about this storm", Cooper said.

Florence was downgraded Wednesday to a Category 3 storm with sustained winds of 120 miles per hour. And the more it hovers just off shore - a distinct possibility - the more potentially deadly storm surge it pushes on-shore.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster ordered as many as one million residents of the state's eastern coast to leave their homes ahead of the storm's predicted arrival today.

President Trump has declared an emergency in the three states and says the government is "as ready as anybody has ever been".

The latest forecast track issued by the National Hurricane Center brings the western portion of the storm, potentially, to parts of Middle Georgia.


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.

Predictions are for Florence to be far more violent storm. A NOAA buoy located about 100 miles northeast of Florence's eye recently reported a sustained wind of 53 mph (85 km/h) and a gust to 74 mph (119 km/h).

"In fact, this entire area is under a mandatory evacuation order", he said.

"I tried to stock up on water because I was going to stay initially, but then as the hurricane got closer and it was going to come close to where Lumberton was, I then made the decision to come home", Benson said.

"You've seen how changes can be", Cline said.

The "Hurricane Hunter" is specially equipped and operated by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to fly through storms to collect data, playing a major role in hurricane forecasting.

First responders around the country are making their way to Wrightsville Beach. "Also, a little creepy".

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