As Hurricane Florence nears Carolinas, 1 million told to evacuate

Olivia satellite imagery. PC  NOAA  CPHC

Olivia satellite imagery. PC NOAA CPHC

Millions of Americans are preparing for what could become one of the most catastrophic hurricanes to hit the Eastern Seaboard in decades.

By 5 a.m., the hurricane was about 975 miles out from Cape Fear, North Carolina, and moving west at about 15 mph.

More than 1 million people face mandatory evacuation orders in coastal areas of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, where Florence could begin delivering tropical storm force winds late Wednesday.

"We do not want to risk one SC life in this hurricane", the governor told a press conference.

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US President Donald Trump has cancelled a political rally planned for Friday in Jackson, Mississippi, over safety concerns related to Florence, his campaign said.

A storm surge is created by winds of a hurricane pushing ocean water toward the coast.

Authorities anxious about the storm's potential to unleash prolonged torrential rains and widespread flooding across several states, especially if it lingers inland for several days. The storm will also be in a position where it can continue to collect more moisture from the Atlantic - and that's an alarming combination.

Storms increase in frequency and intensity by mid-August and into September as temperatures in the Atlantic climb to their highest levels, Javaheri said. The congressional delegation wrote in support of Gov. Ralph Northam's request that a federal emergency be declared. But communities along the North and SC coast will likely see storm surge and damaging winds as Florence comes ashore. North Carolina has ordered the evacuation of more than 50,000 people from Hatteras and Ocracoke, the southernmost of its Outer Banks barrier islands.

Coastal areas of North Carolina began evacuating on Monday, with a second wave at 7 a.m. Tuesday.

"With Hurricane Florence on its way, we determined that this is the safest decision", Michael Glassner of the Trump Campaign said in a statement.

Initial predictions didn't quite pan out this year - so far, we've had nine named storms and five hurricanes.

There have been 3 hurricanes in the Atlantic at least 3 times in the last 9 years so this is not unprecedented.

"The chances of it going out to sea are extremely slim at this point", she said. The storm is expected to speed up and strengthen as it makes its way westward, then some weakening is forecast.

"Take steps now", said North Carolina governor Roy Cooper over the weekend.

"While it's still too early to know the storm's path, we know we have to be prepared", Gov. Cooper said, according to a press release.

The costliest hurricane in U.S. history, Katrina was a Category 3 storm when it made landfall on the Gulf Coast in August 2005 - claiming an estimated 1,833 lives.

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