Millions brace themselves as Hurricane Florence approaches US coast

Will Hurricane Florence Strengthen into a Rare Category 5 Storm

Their entire neighborhood evacuated in Wilmington, North Carolina, David and Janelle Garrigus planned to ride out Florence at their daughter's one-bedroom apartment in Charlotte.

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) — Hurricane Florence put a corridor of more than 10 million people in the crosshairs Wednesday as the monster storm closed in on the Carolinas, uncertainty over its projected path spreading worry across a widening swath of the Southeast.

FRIDAY: Widespread showers and thunderstorms.

Massive waves of up to 83 feet were measured inside the storm on Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center's Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch said, citing satellite altimeter data.

States up and down the East Coast have a great potential for severe weather.

The large and powerful hurricane prompted evacuation orders in North and SC and Virginia - all of which have already declared states of emergency.

Florence also poses a major test of emergency management for at least three states, which in no small part includes their information technology agencies.

"It's the most deadly part of the hurricane that comes in".

"This is going to be a Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast", he warned.

The slow movement, combined with the massive amount of moisture this storm holds, will bring unsafe rains - from 20 to 30 inches in coastal North Carolina and 40 inches possible in isolated areas, the weather service says. The game, originally scheduled for Saturday night, will be played at 4 p.m.at North Carolina.

A hurricane watch is in effect for Edisto Beach, SC, to South Santee River, SC.

With South Carolina's beach towns more in the bull's-eye because of the shifting forecast, OH tourists Chris and Nicole Roland put off their departure from North Myrtle Beach to get the maximum amount of time on the sand.

On Wednesday morning, Florence was extending hurricane-force winds outward up to 70 miles from its center, with tropical-storm-force winds up to 175 miles outward.

Evacuation orders for low-lying areas were issued Monday and continued Tuesday.

To hasten evacuations from coastal SC, officials switched traffic patterns so that all major roads led away from shore.

Expected to make landfall by Friday, the impact of the storm will be widespread, with destructive winds, life-threatening storm surge, unsafe surf, torrential rainfall, flooding and the potential for tornadoes. The National Weather Center said Florence will likely be "the storm of a lifetime" for portions of the Carolina coast. North Carolina alone could get from 20 to 30 inches, with isolated spots possibly receiving 40 inches.

Swell from Florence continues to impact much the East Coast today.

Florence is predicted to turn more toward the northwest through Thursday - but then is expected to head more west-northwest and stall a bit over the Carolinas. Tropical Storm Isaac is heading westward toward the central Lesser Antilles, but is a bit weaker, with Guadeloupe, Martinique and Dominica now under tropical storm, not hurricane, warnings.

While its exact path remains uncertain it is expected to bring huge amounts of rainfall wherever it strikes.

With Hurricane Florence expected to crash into the mid-Atlantic coastline Thursday, several states are racing to evacuate threatened communities and prepare their agencies to provide the services crucial to surviving and recovering from the storm.

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