'Monster' Hurricane Florence Barrels Toward the Carolinas

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

As of 5:00 am (1100 GMT), Florence was a unsafe Category 4 hurricane packing sustained winds of 130 miles per hour (220 kilometers per hour), the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

As Florence churned across the Atlantic packing winds of 205km/h, President Donald Trump and state officials stepped up appeals to residents in the path of the monster storm to evacuate before it is too late. "We are ready for the big one that is coming!"

The trend is "exceptionally bad news", said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy, since it "smears a landfall out over hundreds of miles of coastline, most notably the storm surge".

It has forecasted that parts of North Carolina could receive as much as up to one metre (40 inches) of rain.

"This rainfall would produce catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding", the NHC said.

"We will experience power outages, we will have infrastructure damage, there will be homes damaged, there will be debris on the roads - this will be a storm that creates and causes massive damage to our country", announced Jeffrey Byard, Response and Recovery administrator for FEMA.

Hurricane Florence continues to barrel towards the East Coast. P.J. Tobia reports on the latest in storm preparation from Wilmington, North Carolina.

The entire coastlines of North and SC, in addition to some parts of southeastern Virginia, are under a mandatory evacuation plan.

"The state is mobilising all available resources to ensure public safety", Deal said.

How big is the area covered by Storm Surge Watches and Warnings?

A state of emergency has been declared in D.C. and in states, including Virginia and the Carolina's. Parts of SC could see 5 to 10 inches, with isolated areas getting 20 inches, said the center.

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The eastbound lanes of several major highways have been shut down to allow for a smooth flow of traffic inland. As it turns into southern SC. "We are totally prepared", Trump said at the White House.

"They told me to bring a pillow and blanket", Whisler said.

"The atmosphere overall, before the potential landfall, certainly looks like we are going to have a very unsafe hurricane on our hands", Weather Channel meteorologist Jim Cantore told the Wilmington (N.C.) StarNews. The storm caused an estimated $125 billion of damage along the Gulf Coast. "We're trying to get everyone out, and as such we are shutting the hospital down".

"It's not safe to try to care here", said Dr. Jon Pangia, the hospital's Emergency Medical Director.

"Everything is packed", Espinoza said.

"I've been through hurricanes before but never with kids", she said.

Since Tuesday, forecasts have shifted the storm track towards the south and southwest after it reaches the coast, which could increase the storm's severity in coastal SC through Myrtle Beach and Charleston and even into parts of Georgia.

And he had advice for coastal residents.

In Virginia, 245,000 coastal residents were ordered to evacuate.

LATER NEXT WEEK: The remnants of Hurricane Florence could bring some heavy rain to the D.C. region by next week.

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