'Atmospheric Brick Wall' Steers Hurricane Florence Toward US East Coast

Hurricane Florence rapidly formed into a powerful Category 4 storm Monday as it churned towards the U.S. East Coast

Hurricane Florence is still a category 4 hurricane. The storm is now about 950 miles from the Carolina coast line, but moving in that direction at about 15 mph.

John Johnson, a hardware store manager in Charleston, South Carolina, told AFP news agency there had been a "nonstop" rush on batteries, flashlights, plastic tarpaulins and sandbags. "With the size and the intensity and the current forecast track, it's a unsafe time for people in North Carolina with regard to this storm".

Hurricane and storm surge watches were in effect from Edisto Beach, S.C., to the North Carolina-Virginia border and Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, including the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers.

Residents of the Isle of Palms, South Carolina, fill sand bags at the Isle of Palms municipal lot where the city was giving away free sand in preparation for Hurricane Florence. Widespread rainfall totals of 15 to 20 inches were recorded, with more than 25 inches in some areas, mainly in the Charleston tri-county area. A hospital in Hampton, Virginia, was transferring patients to safer places.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has told locals "don't bet your life on riding out a monster" as 140mph winds get set to batter the shoreline, with SC and Virginia also braced for impact.

"We are sparing no expense".

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned that this would be a grave mistake and said people in evacuation zones "need to get out now".

Trump was widely panned for a lackadaisical response to the impact of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico a year ago, which killed almost 3,000 according to the most recent estimates. Some 3,000 people died in the aftermath of that storm.

"This one really scares me", said the National Hurricane Center director, Ken Graham, who called the storm's size "staggering".

Hurricane Florence is barreling toward the southeastern United States because of the so-called "atmospheric brick wall", the high-pressure system that's guiding it there, forecasters report.

Not everyone was in a hurry to leave.

"The water could overtake some of these barrier islands and keep on going".

"We've already been flooded three times, but it should be a completely different story this time around", he said.

People in the path of Hurricane Florence are boarding up their homes and businesses and leaving behind messages for the massive storm that's headed their way. Some gas stations also ran low on fuel.

"Florence is expected to begin restrengthening later today and continue a slow strengthening trend for the next day or so", the NHC said Tuesday.

Wall Street was sniffing out companies that could gain or lose at the storm's hands.

On the opposite side of the country, officials in Hawaii are warning residents and tourists to brace for the arrival of Tropical Storm Olivia.

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