Hurricane Florence Zeroes In On Carolinas, Bringing 130 MPH Winds

Map shows probable path of Hurricane Florence.; 1c x 3 inches 46.5 mm x 76

"Dangerous" Florence has maximum sustained winds of 130mph and will be a Category 4 storm when it makes landfall on Friday morning.

Now hurricane "Florence" waiting in Washington, where he also declared a state of emergency.

But the National Hurricane Center said Wednesday evening that the storm is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and rainfall to the Carolinas as it approaches the coast Thursday and Friday. "If you are on the coast, there is still time to get out safely". The storm is more than likely to develop into a tropical depression and bring several inches of rain to the Houston area.

Florence's large size - tropical storm force winds extend 170 miles from the center in all directions - means its fury will arrive long before the center of the storm comes ashore, Graham said.

As of 11 a.m., the Category 4 storm was centered 485 miles (785 kilometers) southeast of Wilmington, moving at 15 mph (24 kph) with the potential for 1 to 3 feet of rain in places - enough to touch off catastrophic flooding and an environmental disaster, too, if the water inundates the region's many industrial waste sites and hog manure ponds.

In anticipation of the winds and water, 1.7 million people living along the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia were ordered to evacuate ahead of the storm.

The pivot in the forecasted track of Florence led Georgia's governor to declare a state of emergency for all 159 counties, home to 10.5 million people. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal followed suit on Wednesday.

This storm is a slow-moving mammoth and will linger for days on the coast, heavily affecting not only North and SC but also Georgia and parts of Virginia before moving further inland, causing devastation to entire states throughout the weekend. Rather than pushing up toward western Virginia, the storm's center is now predicted to move across eastern SC on Friday night and Saturday.

The president made his comments in a videotaped message from the White House Rose Garden that he tweeted out on Wednesday morning. Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storm's aftermath, it said.

One North Carolina county has already issued a mandatory evacuation order, and locals throughout the region have cleared supermarket shelves of bottled water. In North Carolina, Cooper says, "2,800 soldiers will be on active duty, joined by even more on standby".

A tropical storm watch is in effect for north of the North Carolina/Virginia border to Cape Charles Light, VA, and for Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort.

The U.S. Coast Guard said it closed the ports of Wilmington and Moorehead City in North Carolina and restricted port operations in Charleston, South Carolina.

A hurricane warning for the coast from Duck, North Carolina and the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, to the South Santee River, South Carolina.

Previously, Arnold shared images of Florence initially gaining strength over the ocean.

Even with some weakening that is predicted just before it makes landfall, the storm "is expected to remain a unsafe major hurricane as it approaches the coastline", the hurricane center said.

The NHC said Helene was weakening, however, and posed no danger to land.

Predictions now have the storm stalling and making a slight southward turn after it makes landfall.

Forecasters have adjusted Hurricane Florence's projected path, saying that after it makes landfall, it is likely to take a more southerly route than expected.

The intensity of the wind and rain we'll see here is dependent on the exact track of the storm.

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