Hurricane Florence: Georgia declares emergency ahead of ‘monster’ storm

“Life-threatening storm surge is forecast along the South Carolina, North Carolina and Southeast Virginia coasts Thursday and Friday”, announced Governor Henry McMaster – (R) South Carolina.

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More than 10 million people are in the crosshairs of Hurricane Florence as storm force winds move within hours of battering the USA east coast.

“Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles (110 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km)”.

Michelle Stober loaded up valuables at her home on Wrightsville Beach to drive back to her primary residence in Cary, North Carolina. “We’re kind of at the mercy of the storm”.

Damaging hurricane-force winds are likely along portions of the coasts of SC and North Carolina, and a Hurricane Warning is in effect. About 1.7 million residents have been urged to flee from parts of North and SC.

President Donald Trump – who was criticised for his response to the deadly Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico past year -has said the White House is “absolutely, totally prepared” to provide aid once Florence hits.

Rainfall totals from Hurricane Florence will top 20 inches in some areas, the National Weather Service says.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency “in light of the storm’s forecasted southward track after making landfall”.

With less than 48 hours before Hurricane Florence was forecast to reach shore, officials in the Carolinas were still pleading for residents to evacuate communities in the storm’s path.

Utility officials have warned that widespread power outages are likely and that it could take weeks to restore electricity. It could stall just off the coast and then drift south along the SC coast and possibly make a landfall as a weaker system if it doesn’t make it clearly over the coast of North Carolina. However, it was projected Wednesday that Florence would shift slightly to the south and possibly hit Georgia as well.

To whip up a monstrous storm like the one chugging for the Carolinas you need a handful of ingredients – and Florence has them all.

Wilmington, North Carolina, just north of where the hurricane is expected to come ashore, was sunny around midday on Wednesday as the town appeared to be emptying. “It’s going to happen”. Over 1.5 million people are under evacuation orders.

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“It’s going to be bad”, said Woody White, chairman of the New Hanover County Commissioners.

A satellite image showing Hurricane Florence in the Atlantic Ocean this week

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