Hurricane Florence: Residents told to 'heed the warnings'

'This is a big storm': Results could be catastrophic

Florence Moves Toward the Carolinas

On the current track, the hurricane will move over the southwestern Atlantic between Bermuda and the Bahamas and then approach the coast of the Carolinas on Thursday and Friday.

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).

When asked in a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Sheriff P.J. Tanner said the school district must first evaluate how many teachers and staff evacuated ahead of the order.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, concerned the storm would bring its devastation south, issued an emergency declaration for all 159 counties in his state. Governors of those states have already declared states of emergency, as have the governors of Virginia and Maryland. As of now, Florence is due to make landfall very early Friday morning, somewhere in the Carolinas.

Some 38cm (15in) to 64cm (25in) of rain is forecast in some areas - with up to one metre (40in) at the centre of the storm.

Duke Energy, the nation's No. 2 power company, said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for week.

A hurricane watch is in effect for Edisto Beach, South Carolina to South Santee River, South Carolina and North of Duck, North Carolina to the North Carolina-Virginia border.

"This will be a storm that's going to be far larger than we have seen in perhaps decades", Trump said.

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On Tuesday evening, the National Hurricane Center issues storm surge warnings for the areas around the Outer Banks in North Carolina and the South Santee River in SC.

"An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft that was in the hurricane until just after midnight" recorded a peak wind gust of around 150 miles per hour, according to the hurricane center.

Fox News reported that sustained winds were picking up a bit along the North Carolina coast.

David Fountain, president of Duke Energy North Carolina, emphasized the potential implications of hurricane, which is now a category 4.

If some of the computer projections hold, "it's going to come roaring up to the coast Thursday night and say, 'I'm not sure I really want to do this, and I'll just take a tour of the coast and decide where I want to go inland,"' said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the private Weather Underground forecasting service.

With Hurricane Florence bearing down on the East Coast, is it time for a radical rethink on what it means to be prepared?

Some areas are expected to see between 20 and 30 inches of rain through early next week in the area shaded in purple in the second image above.

As it nears the coast, the storm's forward motion will slow to a crawl, but the winds and rain will continue full-strength. Shelters in the city were filling and some people were being bused inland to Raleigh, even though some residents there were told they might have to evacuate because of flooding.

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