"United States readies for ‘big one" as Hurricane Florence approaches Carolinas

City taken by one of the Expedition Three crew members on the International Space Stati

City taken by one of the Expedition Three crew members on the International Space Stati

Governor Nathan Deal has issued a state of emergency for the state of Georgia ahead Florence making landfall.

"We're on vacation and we have a week off and we came down from northern Virginia to have fun", she told ABC News.

Forecasters have adjusted Hurricane Florence's projected path, saying that after it makes landfall, it is likely to take a more southerly route than expected.

The S&P Composite 1500 Property & Casualty Insurance Index fell 0.5 percent on Wednesday, with shares of insurers including Travelers Companies Inc, Allstate Corp, American International Group Inc and Chubb Ltd trading down less than one percent.

The Hurricane Center said although slow weakening is expected to begin by late Thursday, Florence is still forecast to be an extremely risky major hurricane when it nears the US coast. A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area.

Florence could become the most powerful storm to hit the area in more than 60 years if its intensity continues. "Disastrous flooding is expected in some areas, not simply near the coastal Carolinas where the heaviest rain totals are forecast, but also in the Appalachians, where heavy rain over mountainous terrain is likely to trigger mud and rockslides", Weather.com meteorologists said.

"Our sand dunes are healthy but they're not going to be able to keep back a wall of water like that", he said.

"It now looks increasingly possible that Florence will stay near the coast (either inland or just offshore) for a day or longer, perhaps moving southwest along the coast".

Those warily staring at Florence grasp in contrast it to Hurricanes Fran and Hugo, which pummeled North Carolina and SC, respectively, more than two decades ago.

Susan Faulkenberry Panousis said she has stayed on Bald Head during prior hurricanes, but not this time. If hog farmers in impacted areas accomplish this, the waste lagoons should be able to handle nearly 3 ft of rainfall, experts at North Carolina State University said.

"If they say leave, leave", said Jennifer Forte, who was in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on Tuesday and headed toward Greenville".

Coastal residents fleeing a potentially devastating blow from Hurricane Florence encountered empty gasoline pumps and depleted store shelves as the monster storm neared the Carolina coast with 140 miles per hour (225 kph) winds and drenching rain that could last for days. The storm was about 435 miles southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina and 470 miles east-southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

On Wednesday, people across the region rushed to buy bottled water and other supplies, board up their homes, pull their boats out of the water and get out of town.

"Been through it!" Belli said, referring to Hurricane Hugo, which caused widespread damage in SC in 1989.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster on Monday ordered the mandatory evacuation of one million coastal residents. The National Hurricane Center is calling for 20 to 30 inches (50 to 75 centimeters) of rain in North Carolina, with spots up to 40 inches (100 centimeters).

The images, captured from249 miles above the storm, captured Florence as it draws close to North Carolina's coast.

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