Mandatory evacuations issued for Outer Banks ahead of Florence

Hurricane Florence from the International Space Station on Monday Sept. 10 2018

Hurricane Florence as seen from the International Space Station on Monday Sept. 10 2018 as it threatens the U.S. East Coast. | NASA via AP

Florence could hit the Carolinas harder than any hurricane since Hazel packed 130mph (209kph) winds in 1954 and killed 19 people in North Carolina.

The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Florence - with winds of up to 140 miles per hour - is expected to be "extremely dangerous" when it hits the East Coast early Friday. Since reliable record-keeping began more than 150 years ago, North Carolina has been hit by only one Category 4 hurricane: Hazel, with 130 miles per hour winds, in 1954.

He added islands to the south such as Barbados and St Lucia are expected to experience some wind from the storm.

According to USA Today, the National Hurricane Centre has said Florence is set to hit the US East Coast later this week, possibly as early as Wednesday.

Mr Sosnowski warned increasing ocean temperatures and low wind shear may see Florence increase in strength by as early as tomorrow. The wind and rain will continue to ramp up during the day Thursday with hurricane force gusts (74 mph+) arriving Thursday evening. Other counties are evacuating low lying and flood prone areas.

Mandatory coastal evacuations were in effect for civilians in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, but the military base posted on Facebook that different chains-of-command would decide whether to release non-essential personnel, and some relatives vented fears that they wouldn't be able to evacuate in time.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster ordered the evacuation to start at noon Tuesday as Hurricane Florence approaches.

Last week, Florence became the first major hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic season.

Rain from Hurricane Florence falling on this saturated ground will bring a widespread and severe flooding event.

"This storm is a monster", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said at a news conference on Tuesday.

Not only will hurricane force winds be a major concern along the coastal locations, but flooding rains will also be a high risk.

The Pentagon said Monday it has sent an advance military team to an emergency operations center in Raleigh, North Carolina, to coordinate with federal and state partners in relief efforts. The current forecast for both the impact and aftermath of the hurricane would require those officials to divert critical resources from what could be much more significant duties.

AccuWeather Founder and President Dr. Joel N. Myers said: "There will be extensive damage inflicted by Hurricane Florence due to its predicted path, which is perpendicular to the coast, rather than at an oblique angle".

"We're ready. We're as ready as anybody has ever been", he said.

Liz Browning Fox was planning to ride out the storm nevertheless on the Outer Banks.

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