Hurricane Florence, the monster Category 3 storm taking aim at the North and SC coastline, is expected to make landfall by the end of this week and bring with it devastating wind, rain and storm surge.
Early Wednesday afternoon in North Carolina, the storm was centered 700 kilometers (435 miles) off the coast, moving at 26 kph (16 mph) towards the USA coastline.
"This is not going to be a glancing blow, " warned Jeff Byard, an administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The Category 4 storm was expected to start hitting the North and SC coasts sometime Thursday or Friday, and should make landfall near Wilmington, N.C., early Saturday morning, according to the latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, concerned the storm would bring its devastation south, issued an emergency declaration for all 159 counties in his state. Eventually, Florence will veer north into the Appalachian Mountains, bringing soaking rains to Virginia and western North Carolina, before sputtering out late next week near DE and Maryland, the FWS reported. I believe in preparation, ' Wright said.
The North Carolina coast is largely empty, as many people have fled in advance of Hurricane Florence.
"We have to be careful we're not asking them to come back to Beaufort County through a storm", he said. "The water level will get a little high but we'll be fine".
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"Everything is packed", Espinoza said.
'Wherever you are in North Carolina, get ready for Florence now, ' Governor Cooper said.
"Disaster is at the doorstep and is coming in", Cooper said. "There's no canned goods", Kristin Harrington said as she shopped at a Walmart in Wilmington.
Up to 1.7 million people have been ordered to evacuate across South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.
Enough rain could fall to break North Carolina's record for a tropical storm - 24 inches - set near Wilmington during Hurricane Floyd in 1999, said Greg Carbin, chief of forecast operations at the Weather Service's national prediction center.
As of Tuesday, more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out. Tropical Storm Isaac was east of the Lesser Antilles and expected to pass south of Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and Cuba, while Hurricane Helene was moving northward away from land.