Hurricane Florence’s uncertain track sows fear; 10 million in crosshairs

Map shows probable path of Hurricane Florence.; 1c x 3 inches 46.5 mm x 76

Map shows probable path of Hurricane Florence

The storm, which fell from category four to category three on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, is expected to strengthen despite it weakening on Wednesday. The storm is more than likely to develop into a tropical depression and bring several inches of rain to the Houston area.

"Do you want to get hit with a train or do you want to get hit with a cement truck?" said Jeff Byard, an administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"Due to impacts from Hurricane Florence, an evacuation order has been issued for coastal SC, including Charleston, Dorchester, and Berkeley counties, beginning at noon Tuesday, Sept. 11", a spokesperson for Boeing said by email.

And it led to mixed signals from officials in SC, whose governor had canceled mandatory evacuation for several coastal counties.

A state of emergency has been declared in Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington amid concern over potential torrential rain and flooding.

Decreasing modestly in strength but expanding in size, Category 3 Hurricane Florence is less than 48 hours away from making landfall on the Southeast American coast with catastrophic impacts, from damaging winds to flash flooding to widespread power outages.

North and SC residents are running out of time to evacuate before Hurricane Florence roars in with pounding surf and driving rain that will bring potentially deadly flooding, officials warn.

The Charleston International Airport will close Wednesday night at 11:59 p.m. until further notice, reports George Kearns of South Carolina Public Radio.

Authorities in neighboring North Carolina ordered an evacuation of the Outer Banks, barrier islands that are a popular tourist destination, and parts of coastal Dare County.

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Boarding up his home in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Chris Pennington watched the forecasts and tried to decide when to leave.

"He was thinking of coming here until this morning, and now he asked me if I wanted to come up there", he said.

The Virginia National Guard is planning to initially bring up to 1,500 soldiers and airmen to offer help in the state's response operations.

"Rather than a very narrow and intense band of winds, the winds are slightly weaker - but [they] cover a much larger area", NHC senior hurricane specialist Stacy Stewart said on Wednesday.

Florence is one of the strongest hurricanes to hit the eastern coast in decades.

Florence is predicted to turn more toward the northwest through Thursday - but then is expected to head more west-northwest and stall a bit over the Carolinas.

The intensity of the wind and rain we'll see here is dependent on the exact track of the storm.

"We're just trying to plan for the future here, not having a house for an extended period of time", David Garrigus said.

"Even if you've ridden out storms before, this one is different". "It's called Mother Nature".

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