One million asked to evacuate as Hurricane Florence closes in

Hurricane Florence track

Hurricane Florence track

The Brunswick Nuclear Plant in Southport, North Carolina, is just a few miles from where Florence is expected to make landfall.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) says it expects the storm to make landfall in North Carolina or SC late Thursday into Friday as "an extremely unsafe major hurricane".

The NHC issued a hurricane watch for the coastal area stretching from SC up through North Carolina and into southern Virginia. It added that the hurricane should approach the U.S. coast by Thursday.

And the storm surge, which could be as much as 12 feet in some areas, will be on top of sea level rise from climate change.

A wind pattern that allows a storm to get strong and stay strong.

Carrying winds of up to 220 km/h as a Category 4 storm, Hurricane Florence is expected to strengthen and become a Category 5 storm on Tuesday (Weds NZT).

Many areas, particularly focused along the North Carolina coastline, could see frequent gusts well over 100 miles per hour with sustained winds near 100 miles per hour as Florence slowly moves ashore.

Mr Sosnowski warned increasing ocean temperatures and low wind shear may see Florence increase in strength by as early as tomorrow.

Florence's large size - tropical storm force winds extend 170 miles from the center in all directions - means its fury will arrive long before the center of the storm comes ashore, Graham said.

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South Carolina's governor ordered the state's entire coastline evacuated starting at noon Tuesday and predicted that 1 million people would flee as highways reverse directions.

The rain could lead to life-threatening flash flooding.

Forecasters said Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic, between Bermuda and the Bahamas, Tuesday and Wednesday - and approach the Carolina coast Thursday. All three states have declared states of emergency. With 1-to-3 feet of rainfall expected in some areas, significant river flooding will occur.

Hurricane Florence is now barreling across the Atlantic with winds of more than 140mph and is becoming dangerously close to being classified as a level 5 hurricane.

"It's possible it could be even higher than that depending on how quickly the storm moves to the coast, but we're kind of expecting it to slow down as it moves to the coast and would probably cut down the storm surge", AccuWeather hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski says.

TRUMP sounds the alarm about Hurricane Florence during Oval Office press availability: "They haven't seen anything like what's coming at us in 25, 30 years, maybe ever".

It's a scene that's playing out all along the eastern seaboard as Hurricane Florence continues to churn towards the coast.

The first significant impact will be from the hurricane force winds.

Liz Browning Fox was planning to ride out the storm on the Outer Banks, defying evacuation orders.

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