United States readies for 'big one' as Hurricane Florence approaches Carolinas

United States readies for 'big one' as Hurricane Florence approaches Carolinas

Florence is moving over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas today, and is expected to approach the coast of North Carolina or SC in the hurricane warning area on Friday.

Deal's declaration Wednesday covers comes as the National Weather Service's storm forecast shows a chance that Florence's track might turn toward the southwest as it approaches the Carolinas later this week. Some fluctuation in wind speeds are expected, and weakening forecast Thursday, but it's still expected to be a fierce storm triggering unsafe flooding.

Early on Friday, the downtown area of the city of New Bern, on the Trent and Neuse rivers near the North Carolina coast, was underwater as emergency crews conducted several rescues, according to reports on social media.

While Hurricane Florence has sparked state of emergency and mass evacuation, a very unfortunate weather graphic has managed to put a smile on those preparing for the storm.

As Hurricane Florence gets closer to the Carolinas, Hurricane Hunters from the Bay area are flying right into the storm.

Upon its arrival, the National Hurricane Center projects that Florence could drop anywhere from 20-40 inches of rain along the Carolina coast. Cars and trucks full of people and belongings streamed inland.

Wilmington, just north of where Florence appeared headed for shore, grew empty and quiet on Wednesday.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has ordered the mandatory evacuation of one million coastal residents while neighboring North Carolina ordered an evacuation of the Outer Banks, barrier islands that are a popular tourist destination, and parts of coastal Dare County. Most other beachgoers were long done.

"It's been really nice", Nicole Roland said.

"This morning I drove around for an hour looking for gas in Cary".

But his partner, Emily Whisler, said she will stay at the university where she is a resident in the psychiatry program. Yet some of the big wildcards are how much Florence will hit Charlotte and the Washington, D.C. area. Tropical Storm Isaac was expected to pass south of Puerto Rico, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Cuba, while Hurricane Helene was moving northward away from land.

Utility officials have warned that widespread power outages are likely and that it could take weeks to restore electricity.

"If you don't have a plan in place, you still have time to do something", Jones said.

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