Trump declares state of emergency in Carolinas ahead of Hurricane Florence

Trump declares state of emergency in Carolinas ahead of Hurricane Florence

Trump declares state of emergency in Carolinas ahead of Hurricane Florence

James Wemyss puts out more supplies at The Home Depot on Monday, Sept. 10, 2018, in Wilmington, N.C. Florence rapidly strengthened into a potentially catastrophic hurricane on Monday as it closed in on North and SC, carrying winds and water that could wreak havoc over a wide stretch of the eastern United States later this week.

The National Hurricane Center warned on Twitter that there may be a high risk of "storm surge at the coast and freshwater flooding from a prolonged heavy rainfall event inland".

This could worsen if, as some meteorologists predict, Florence stalls after it makes landfall.

South Carolina National Guard soldiers transfer bulk diesel fuel into fuel tanker trucks for distribution in advance of Hurricane Florence, in North Charleston, South Carolina, U.S. September 10, 2018. "And when it hits the Gulf Stream in warmer water, it's going to [intensify] even more".

The hurricane has already prompted mandatory evacuation orders in the Carolinas and Virginia. "We are going to put everything else away and then we are going to put some concrete blocks in front of the doors just so rushing water and wind can't blow the doors back in", said Matthew Littleton with Casper's Marina. "But we're willing to suffer some inconvenience".

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 10 miles from the center and tropical-storm force winds extend outward up to 45 miles, the NHC said.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam also issued mandatory evacuations to begin Tuesday morning for the most low-lying, flood prone areas of the state - the Eastern Shore and a section of coast identified by officials as "Zone A".

McMaster declared a state of emergency on Saturday.

The governors of Maryland and Virginia have also declared a state of emergency.

"We do not want to risk one SC life in this hurricane", the governor told a press conference. "We are hoping for the best and preparing for the worst", he said.

Meanwhile, US president Trump was forced to cancel one of his planned "Make America Great Again" rallies scheduled for Friday night in Jackson, Mississippi. He was due to campaign for Senate candidate Cindy Hyde-Smith.

Authorities anxious about the storm's potential to unleash prolonged torrential rains and widespread flooding across several states, especially if it lingers inland for several days. With winds of up to 150mph forecast, Florence will likely fell tree limbs and trigger power outages. Some forecasting models show it could unload a foot or two of rain in places, causing devastating inland flooding. That storm brought $125bn in damage last summer, mostly in Texas.

The storm has Category 4 winds of 140 miles per hour and is moving west-northwest at 13 miles per hour.

But the landfall intensity of that storm was 250 km/h when it hit Puerto Rico, it added.

Mindful of devastation wrought by a string of deadly US hurricanes a year ago, residents in the Carolinas began the rituals of disaster preparation - boarding up windows and stocking up on groceries, water and gasoline.

The evacuation goes into effect tomorrow (Tuesday, 9/11) at noon.

Amtrak is also waiving fees for travelers and said it will accommodate customers on other trains.

The formidable storm is packing maximum sustained winds of 140 miles per hour, making it a Category 4 Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, and it is expected to strengthen further.

Off the state's coast, large sea swells and unsafe rip currents were already apparent over the weekend, foreshadowing the storm's arrival.

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