As thousands evacuate parts of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia in preparation for a direct hit by the category 4 hurricane set to make landfall late Thursday or early Friday, the National Weather Service Wilmington has issued a chilling warning, dubbing Hurricane Florence as potentially one of the most risky storms to hit the east coast in decades.
The hurricane is now a Category 4 storm, which could prove catastrophic. The majority of the storm surge and rainfall issues are expected to remain for southeast North Carolina down into Charleston.
The National Hurricane Centre said it was a potentially catastrophic Category-4 storm, but was expected to keep drawing energy from the warm water and intensify to near Category 5, which means winds of 157 miles per hour or higher. It was located father north in the Atlantic than any other storm to ever hit the Carolinas, so what we're forecasting is unprecedented. Florence was expected to bring very heavy storm surge, rain and flooding to the entire region on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Sand bags surround homes on North Topsail Beach, N.C., on Wednesday as Hurricane Florence threatens the coast.
"Florence is intensifying", said North Carolina's Governor Roy Cooper, adding: "This storm is strong, and its gettings stronger". That funding can not be spent on disaster response, they said. The track also shifted somewhat south and west, throwing Georgia into peril as Florence moves inland.
"This is not going to be a glancing blow", Jeff Byard, an administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, warned.
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.
"We are hoping for the best and preparing for the worst", Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said, noting that Florence could cause catastrophic flooding in his state.
The hurricane will weaken as it moves across land.
"This will be a storm that's going to be far larger than we have seen in perhaps decades", Trump said.
What's more certain is beach erosion and risky surf conditions.
Boeing Co suspended work on Tuesday at the SC plant where it assembles 787 widebody jetliners, and a Volvo automobile plant in South Carolina's evacuation zone was also closed, company officials said.
The major airlines out of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport are bracing for Florence's impact on the east coast. Even if you've ridden out storms before, this one is different. Many areas in the low-lying city flood with routine rain storms, causing street closures and detours.
"I'm scared we'll get 30 inches or more of rain", said Carol Trojniar, 69, a longtime Wilmington resident and retired real estate agent who has never experienced a Category 4 hurricane.
North and SC and Virginia declared emergencies earlier in the week. A steady stream of vehicles filled with people and belongings is moving inland.