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12 September 2018, 10:37 | Justin Tyler
From the National Weather Service
The storm - which is said to be life-threatening and a once-in-a-generation event for residents in the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic states - has also led officials to issue mandatory evacuations of coastal areas of North and SC and Virginia, affecting an estimated 1 million people. Those two states, as well as Virginia, have declared a state of emergency while they prepare.
SC coastal areas can expect tropical storm force winds by Thursday morning on the storm's latest track, according to John Quagliariello from the National Weather Service in Columbia. The storm appears to be on a collision course with the Cape Fear region later this week, and is now a oowerful category 4 hurricane.
A storm surge warning was issued from South Santee River, South Carolina, to Duck, North Carolina, and the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, including the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers.
In South Carolina, the price gouging law is now in effect.
There are now no coastal watches or warnings in effect.
US President Donald Trump, whose administration faced severe criticism for a slow response in Puerto Rico to Hurricane Maria, cancelled a political rally planned for Friday in Jackson, Mississippi, over safety concerns related to Florence, his campaign said.
Courtesy @astro_ricky/NASA/Handout via REUTERSA photo taken from the International Space Station by astronaut Ricky Arnold shows Hurricane Florence over the Atlantic Ocean on early September 6. "Additional watches and warnings may be required tonight or Wednesday", officials cautioned.
At 11 a.m., the center of the storm was about 775 miles east of the Lesser Antilles.
Of highest importance for the United States - right now - is Florence, which was about 800 miles southeast of Bermuda and heading due west Saturday evening.
Experts are saying Florence, a "monster", could be one of the most powerful storms to ever hit the East Coast. "It's big, and it's vicious", he said.
Forecast models have said that several feet of heavy rain could cause flooding well inland from the coast.
Evacuations began Monday in coastal Carolina regions as landfall still looks likely near the state line between North Carolina and SC.
Deal cited the storm's "forecasted southward track" in a statement declaring a state of emergency.
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