Astronauts on International Space Station showcase power of Hurricane Florence in photos

A North Carolina hog farm and its waste lagoon following Hurricane Floyd in 1999

The storm, which is poised to affect millions this week in the southeastern USA, is "expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and rainfall" to North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, and parts of the Mid-Atlantic states, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

"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".

Deal cited the storm's "forecasted southward track" in a statement declaring a state of emergency.

People fleeing coastal North and SC clogged highways early Wednesday as Florence bore down on the coast for a direct hit in a low-lying region dense with beachfront vacation homes.

The threat of storm surges loom for areas in the path of the storm, meaning life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland is possible in the next 36 hours.

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

"This rainfall would produce catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding", the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

A hurricane warning along with a storm surge warning has been issued for Wilmington and surrounding areas.


Expected to make landfall by Friday, the impact of the storm will be widespread, with destructive winds, life-threatening storm surge, risky surf, torrential rainfall, flooding and the potential for tornadoes.

Hurricane Florence is just days from making landfall in the Carolinas.

At the White House, President Donald Trump both touted the government's readiness and urged people to get out of the way of Florence.

"The big picture: There are several characteristics of the changing climate that are helping to increase the risks of damage from Hurricane Florence, even though global warming is not directly causing such a storm to spin up".

"We hope to have something left when we get home", she said.

"This is going to be a Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast", he warned.

Forecasters anxious the storm's damage will be all the worse if it lingers on the coast.

With South Carolina's beach towns more in the bulls-eye because of the shifting forecast, OH vacationers Chris and Nicole Roland put off their departure from North Myrtle Beach to get the maximum amount of time on the sand.

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