5 photos of Hurricane Florence

5 photos of Hurricane Florence

5 photos of Hurricane Florence

"Between the lines: Hurricane Florence could become the strongest hurricane on record to strike so far north if it makes landfall north of the border between SC and North Carolina as a Category 4 or 5 storm".

More than 5.4 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches on the US East Coast, according to the NWS, and another four million people were under a tropical storm watch. He also declared a state of emergency in Virginia.

WCNC-TV meteorologist Brad Panovich told WFAE Morning Edition host Marshall Terry that the shift of Florence means more rain for the Charlotte area.

The NHC warned on Tuesday that the storm may strengthen to Category 5, with wind speeds in excess of 157 miles per hour (253 km/h), as it moves over a band of warmer water off of North Carolina's coast. "It's going to destroy homes", said Jeff Byard, an official at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

In Charleston, South Carolina, some residents were making preparations to leave Tuesday while others planned to ride out the storm. Even once the prison was evacuated, many of its inmates spent months behind bars for minor crimes and traffic offenses while waiting for courts to reopen and hear their cases.

Bo Stone, who raises corn and hogs in Rowland, North Carolina, said he worked into the night to harvest his crop to avoid damage from high winds. The two hardware chains said they sent in a total of around 1,100 trucks. "Everyone was sold out", she said. "I'll be living there for a few days".

Forecasters anxious the storm's damage will be all the worse if it lingers on the coast. "Not anxious in the least".

"I will enjoy the quiet", he said. And he had advice for coastal residents.

In Virginia, 245,000 coastal residents were ordered to evacuate including from the Eastern Shore, another popular beachfront destination.

The storm is also expected to trigger "life-threatening, catastrophic flash flooding & significant river flooding over portions of the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic states from late this week into early next week", forecasters wrote on Twitter Tuesday.

As of Tuesday, about 1.7 million people in North and SC and Virginia were under warnings to evacuate the coast, and hurricane watches and warnings extended across an area with about 5.4 million residents. Florence is now a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. The Virginia National Guard is planning to initially bring up to 1,500 soldiers and airmen to offer help in the state's response operations.

To hasten evacuations from coastal SC, officials reversed the flow of traffic on some highways so all major roads led away from shore. In fact, no tropical storm or hurricane in recorded history has passed within 100 miles of Florence's location last Friday and still made a United States landfall.

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