SC has ordered the mandatory evacuation of its entire coast, and evacuations were also ordered for several North Carolina towns, as Category 4 Hurricane Florence continues her aggressive pursuit towards the states.
Long-duration hurricane-force winds of 74 miles per hour or higher could cause tremendous damage and widespread power outages. The storm is expected to make landfall along the North Carolina coast, possibly as a Category 4 storm, overnight Thursday into Friday.
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The Miami-based center says the storm's center was located about 410 miles (660 kilometers) south of Bermuda and about 975 miles (1570 kilometers) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina.
Up to 30 inches of rain could fall in isolated pockets across North Carolina, Virginia and northern SC through Saturday.
"As I tweeted with Harvey last year.it is important to understand the potential one-two punch from Hurricane Florence", University of Georgia meteorologist Marshall Shepherd said. "The Federal Government is closely monitoring and ready to assist".
"This is a very unsafe hurricane", McMaster said, adding that the evacuation order for coastal counties was "mandatory, not voluntary". Residents and visitors in popular tourist spots such as Duck and Corolla faced a Tuesday deadline.
In North Carolina, all Hatteras Island residents and visitors were ordered to evacuate starting at noon Monday, according to Dare County Emergency Management.
Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools announced they are not altering their schedule for Tuesday and will continue to monitor conditions. A total of 177 health-care facilities, including 19 hospitals, also are being evacuated.
With a mandatory evacuation order in place, St. Joseph's/Candler will be closing all practices in SC.
McMaster said folks should prepare for a lot of flooding in the Pee Dee area.
The hurricane center's description of a Category 4 hurricane begins with "catastrophic damage will occur". Trees can be snapped or uprooted.
By Monday morning, the hurricane center classified Florence as a "major" hurricane, Category 3, meaning it was packing sustained winds of at least 111 miles per hour.
A Category 4 storm is also characterized as a major hurricane.
Red flags have already been flying on beaches, warning swimmers to stay out of the water as seas began kicking up.
"I have just been informed that this is one of the worst hurricanes that came to the East coast for many years".
"A west- northwestward motion with a decrease in forward speed is expected through late Tuesday, followed by a turn toward the northwest and then toward the north-northwest on Wednesday and Thursday", the NHC said.
The campaign said the event was scuttled out of safety concerns.