Mandatory evacuations ordered in Carolinas, Virginia ahead of Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence strengthened into a Category 4 hurricane Monday afternoon

Hurricane Florence strengthened into a Category 4 hurricane Monday

"Unfortunately, the models were right", the National Weather Service's National Hurricane Center said in a sternly-worded forecast discussion Monday evening.

In addition to Florence, the Atlantic Ocean now has two other strong storms.

Tall corn and tobacco crops are most vulnerable to wind damage and hard to harvest if knocked down, said Rhonda Garrison, executive director of the Corn Growers Association of North Carolina.

While gas prices tend to dip around this time each year, motorists can expect to see a spike in prices as Hurricane Florence has arrived on the East Coast.

Hurricane #Florence continues to strengthen, max winds are now 140 miles per hour. But it's expected to intensify before pummeling the East Coast.

Meteorologists were not certain where Florence would wash ashore, but as of Monday evening landfall was generally expected to be somewhere between Myrtle Beach and North Carolina's Outer Banks.

Despite the slight drop in maximum sustained winds to 70 miles per hour, Isaac is expected to be at or near hurricane strength as it passes near land later this week.

"Dangerous Florence", as the official update calls it, is highly likely to bring with it life-threatening storm surges and catastrophic flash flooding, and damaging hurricane-force winds across vast stretches of SC and North Carolina. While a fast-traveling hurricane might blow off some shingles, a relentless onslaught such as this could easily blow off roofs or destroy houses.

The region could see hurricane force winds in excess of 74 miles per hour, with the strongest winds late Thursday night through Friday afternoon, the center said.

"Storm surge has the highest potential to kill the most amount of people", FEMA Administrator Brock Long said.

"Hurricane Florence has the potential to cause catastrophic flooding, especially in our coastal areas", Governor Northam said.

Storm surge is basically a wall of water that could swallow parts of the coast.

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 neighbourhood near the ocean before checking into a hotel to ride out the storm, with plenty of wine.

The winds will be strong enough to knock down trees, damage structures and cause widespread power outages, the center warned.

Typically local governments in North Carolina make the call on evacuations. The map below shows the greatest impacts in North Carolina and along the eastern coastline, as far south as Charleston and as far north as New Jersey.

The state of North Carolina is preparing for a major storm. "So this is not just going to be a coastal threat".

Florence will unload up to 40 inches of rain in parts of North Carolina.

Nearby counties like Pender, Beaufort, Pitt, Greene and Lenoir could see 10 to 15 inches of rain.

The problem is, much of the Carolinas are already saturated from rainfall.

Florence is unusual in that it is aiming at the Carolinas from the east.

And in the 29 years since Hurricane Hugo struck, the population of the coastal Carolinas has skyrocketed.

A four-person, emergency operations center support team from the New Orleans Fire Department is also planning to deploy to North Carolina.

A storm covering enormous area, to drench and lash more people. Make sure you have your medications.

North Carolina is the country's leading producer of tobacco, second-biggest producer of hogs and a major poultry producer.

"We're a resilient bunch down here". "But this is pretty serious".

Gentry encouraged residents to be prepared for the storm by Wednesday evening and as it closes in, to stay at home.

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