Hurricane Florence threatens millions on US East Coast

'This is a big storm': Results could be catastrophic

Florence Moves Toward the Carolinas

"North Carolina, my message is clear", a grim Gov. Roy Cooper said at a briefing today.

However some residents have chose to board up their homes and ride out the storm. "This is a storm that is historic, maybe once in a lifetime".

More than 1.5 million people living on the US East Coast have been ordered to leave their homes as Hurricane Florence heads towards them.

The eastbound lanes of several major highways have been shut down to allow for a smooth flow of traffic inland.

Forecasters do not expect that strength to change much before it makes landfall late Thursday or early Friday near the North Carolina-South Carolina border.

President Trump and his administration are buckling in for Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 hurricane expected to slam into the Carolinas by Friday.

As of 8 a.m. ET, Florence was 530 miles southeast of Cape Fear, N.C., moving west-northwest at 17 mph, the National Hurricane Center says.

The storm could cause a life-threatening storm surge, essentially walls of water, ahead of landfall which is why FEMA warns that Wednesday is the last feasible day to evacuate areas vulnerable to the storm.

A ideal storm of unfortunate circumstances means Florence could deal a devastating blow to the Southeast.

"This storm is going to knock out power days into weeks. There will be flooding in inland areas as well". "This is not going to be a glancing blow", Byard explained.

The center of the storm is expected to move between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday and will approach the Carolinas by Thursday.

"The latest warnings from the National Hurricane Center predict totals of up to 40 inches in isolated areas, far above the 27.84" that fell in Georgia during Hurricane Alberto in 1994 (the current East Coast record), or the 10.28 inches that fell in SC during Hugo.

More news: Florence strengthens 'rapidly,' now powerful Category 4 hurricane

Hurricane Florence is still a few days out from making landfall, and as we've seen, the forecast tract has varied. The storm is set to bring heavy rains and damaging winds, particularly in areas along the Atlantic coast, and will be the most intense during the overnight hours of September 14.

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

This story will be updated as more information is available regarding the reopening of schools.

Trojniar said she and her husband were packing up belongings and plan to stack sandbags around their single-floor home in Wilmington's eerily named Landfall neighborhood near the ocean before checking into a hotel to ride out the storm, with plenty of wine.

Still, the potential for coastal flooding remains a concern, they said.

"They told me to bring a pillow and blanket", Whisler said.

Charleston, resident William Belli said he would not be among those joining the exodus.

First comes the storm surge - a rise in sea levels caused by storm winds.

Walking his dog along empty streets, Belli said he's well stocked with food and water.

To hasten evacuations from coastal SC, officials reversed the flow of traffic on some highways so all major roads led away from shore.

And it led to mixed signals from officials in SC, whose governor had canceled mandatory evacuation for several coastal counties.

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