Decreasing modestly in strength but expanding in size, Category 3 Hurricane Florence is less than 48 hours away from making landfall on the Southeast American coast with catastrophic impacts, from damaging winds to flash flooding to widespread power outages.
"We'll handle it. We're ready, we're able, we've got the finest people I think anywhere in the world". The worst of the storm's effects will be felt over the weekend as Florence moves on through.
Forecasters are predicting that Florence will make landfall in the Carolinas late Thursday or early Friday as a slightly weakened but still risky Category 3 hurricane. Evacuations have been ordered for coastal residents, and the slow-moving storm could dump feet of rain in some places as it slogs through.
Since Tuesday, forecasts have shifted the storm track towards the south and southwest after it reaches the coast, which could increase the storm's severity in coastal SC through Myrtle Beach and Charleston and even into parts of Georgia.
Speaking about the Wilmington area and its surrounding beaches in North Carolina, a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) official said the inland flooding threat was "extreme". "Don't bet your life on riding out a monster", he said.
Scientists have filmed an astonishing video of the interior of Hurricane Florence, as the storm bears down on North and SC.
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.
Maryland and Washington, D.C. have also both declared states of emergency.
The storm may stall over SC and North Carolina, dump several feet of rain, and trigger widespread flooding.
The eastbound lanes of several major highways have been shut down to allow for a smooth flow of traffic inland.
"This is a very fluid situation, especially now that new model runs are shifting the course of the storm south after landfall, potentially increasing its impact on SC and Georgia", St. Mary's Hospital spokesman Mark Ralston said.
"If I need to evacuate I can go to my son's house", Sparks said as he carted a load of water bottles to his vehicle. As of Saturday, about 676,000 homes and businesses were without power in North Carolina, along with 119,000 in SC.
On Wednesday, we got an inside look at the planes at Lakeland Linder Airport. Thousands of marines and their families evacuated from Camp Lejeune, leaving the rest to dig in ahead of what could be a direct hit. "I was in the same house and it stood fine".
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned residents that time was running out to seek safety from what he called a "once in a lifetime" storm. Get prepared on the East Coast, this is a no-kidding nightmare coming for you. The only exception was Edisto Beach - that and other areas to the north remain under evacuation orders.
Howard Fowler, the Duke Energy storm director, said they have been preparing for Hurricane Florence by opening communication lines and checking inventory. The site lost enough material to fill around two-thirds of an Olympic-sized pool, the company said in a statement, adding that it did not believe the incident posed a risk to health or the environment. Isaac could bring heavy rainfall to Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe.
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