U.S. capital under state of emergency, evacuation ordered

\'Life-Threatening\' Hurricane Florence Now Forecast to Bring \'Catastrophic\' Flooding

The slow-moving storm, the most severe hurricane to threaten the USA mainland this year, was located about 785 miles (1,260 km) southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, at 4:30 p.m. EDT (2030 GMT), according to the NHC. The hurricane center predicts a "heavy rainfall event, which may extend inland over the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic for hundreds of miles".

As of 11 a.m. Tuesday, Hurricane Florence had maximum sustained winds of about 130 miles per hour, a slight weakening from earlier the morning.

The storm is now 845 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina.

Another four million people are under a tropical storm watch.

So far this season, there have been nine named storms - five of them were hurricanes. Although North Carolina is still expected to see the worst of the storm, a more southern track would mean that states further north - like Virginia - could be spared of some nasty weather.

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said the emergency was "effective immediately" and "ensures that we will have the resources we need to prepare". "People are doing a pretty good job now".

The game between East Carolina and No. 13 Virginia Tech is now off the weekend schedule due to Hurricane Florence.

President Trump met with federal disaster officials at the White House on Tuesday.

"It's not just the coast", Mr Graham said.

"This is not going to be a quick hit across the coast", he said.

He said Congress would be generous with disaster relief funding.

Isaac became a tropical storm again approaching the Caribbean, while Hurricane Helene was veering northward, no threat to land.

And the storm surge, which could be as much as 12 feet in some areas, will be on top of sea level rise from climate change. "Make sure you have flashlights and batteries", Bowser said.

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It is feared Florence could hit the Carolinas harder than any hurricane since Hurricane Hazel packed 209km/h winds in 1954. But the storm is expected to strengthen again over the next day or so.

Hurricane Florence has slightly increased in speed as it heads toward the U.S. East Coast. It is expected to intensify to near Category 5 status as it slows over very warm ocean water near North and SC.

Some areas could get deluged with 20 inches of rain, Myers said.

North Carolina has waived transportation rules to help farmers move crops and livestock ahead of the most severe storm to threaten the USA mainland this year. "This rainfall may produce life-threatening flash flooding".

Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com calculates that Hurricane Florence could dump about 18 trillion gallons of rain in seven days over the Carolinas and Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland.

Large cities and towns that lie within the most threatened zone include Jacksonville, Greenville, New Bern, Morehead City and Kinston, says the center.

"Many of the people here have never seen a storm this strong", Myers said.

"Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. So will the power lines, as the trees fall down". Power outages will last weeks to possibly months.

In the Pacific, Hurricane Olivia triggered warnings for multiple Hawaiian islands as it blew west towards an arrival over the state as soon as late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

Florence is expected to be an extremely unsafe major hurricane through Thursday night. However, tropical storm force winds of 40 miles per hour could develop as early as Thursday morning.

The National Hurricane Centre has issued storm surge watches and hurricane watches for portions on the Carolinas and Virginia and residents are urged to pay attention to advice given by local authorities.

Farther to the east, Hurricane Helene is now a Category 2 storm, but it's expected to curve harmlessly northward and weaken in the central Atlantic.

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