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USA and Caribbean brace for arrival of Hurricane Florence

14 September 2018

All emergency and major disaster declarations are made exclusively at the discretion of the President of the United States, according to FEMA.

Like Hurricane Harvey, which stalled over Texas in 2017, Florence could linger over the Southeast for several days after landfall. The storm is so huge that SC won't be spared even if it escapes the eye of the hurricane.

By 11am Eastern time (11pm HKT) on Monday, Florence was about 1,240 miles (2,000 kilometres) east-southwest of Cape Fear, North Carolina, and was a Category 4, the second-strongest on the Saffir-Simpson scale, the NHC said. Forecast models suggest that more than two feet of rain could fall over the higher elevations of the Carolinas and Virginia, which would generate unsafe flooding downstream. President Donald Trump tweeted on Monday evening.

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The massive hurricane is closing in on the Carolinas and Virginia and could cause disastrous weather as far as Pennsylvania and Ohio.

The National Hurricane Center issued hurricane warnings for the Carolinas on Tuesday as millions braced for the strongest storm to hit the region in decades.

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Florence is now one of three hurricanes spinning in the Atlantic Ocean, along with Helene and Isaac.

"Florence is a threat well beyond the coast, so inland counties need to be ready as well", he added.

Hurricane Florence is threatening Eastern North Carolina with winds that could top 130 miles per hour, according to forecasters, and more than a foot of rainfall.

Helene - 490km west of the Cape Verde islands off the African coast - has winds up to 150km/h and is expected to continue moving west-northwest for another couple of days, the NHC said in its bulletin.

He wrote: "My people just informed me that this is one of the worst storms to hit the East Coast in many years".

Kevin Orth loads sandbags into cars on Milford Street as he helps residents prepare for Hurricane Florence on Monday in Charleston, S.C.

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"Further strengthening is anticipated, and Florence is expected to be an extremely risky major hurricane through Thursday", NHC forecasters warned.

A number of major airlines issued travel advisories for areas expected to be hit by Florence, including American, Delta, Southwest, Spirit and United, CNN reported. The National Hurricane Center indicated that Florence could soon be approaching Category 5 storm strength.

Preparations intensified up and down the densely populated coast.

The category 4 storm is expected to bring life threatening impacts especially flooding.

Lining up behind Florence, Isaac was about 1,150 miles (1,855 kilometers) east of the Windward Islands with top winds of 75 mph (120 kph) early Monday, moving west at 14 mph (22 kph).

Some strengthening is expected during the next 36 hours, and Florence is expected to be an extremely risky major hurricane through Thursday.

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USA and Caribbean brace for arrival of Hurricane Florence