United States east coast braced for catastrophic hurricane strike

The storm strengthened from 130 mph to 140 mph and is Category 4 the NHC said

Gas prices on the U.S. East Coast are expected to surge this week ahead of and during Hurricane Florence's landfall, as residents have started to evacuate from the Carolinas and Virginia, for which U.S. President Donald Trump has declared that a state of emergency exists.

Current forecasts call for Florence to be at least a Category 3 storm when it arrives at the Carolinas. The video was taken on Tuesday as Florence churned across the Atlantic in a west-northwesterly direction with winds of 130 miles per hour.

As of 2 p.m. Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center showed Florence as a Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour moving west-northwest at 16 miles per hour.

Cooper and his SC counterpart, Henry McMaster, told the more than 1 million people who have been told to leave that if they don't, they are on their own.

Forecasters said parts of North Carolina could get 20in of rain, if not more, with as much as 10in elsewhere in the state and in Virginia, parts of Maryland and Washington DC. "A lot of local people are staying", she said of the island, which is reachable only by ferry or plane.

Graphic shows the storm track of Hurricane Florence.

"This is not going to be a glancing blow", warned Jeff Byard, an administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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Florence could strengthen some over open water and then weaken as it nears land, but the difference won't make it any less unsafe, forecaster Stacy Stewart wrote in a National Hurricane Center discussion.

"This will be a storm that's going to be far larger than we have seen in perhaps decades", Trump said. But despite that, bad things can happen when you're talking about a storm this size. It will be more tropical depression at that point.

Boeing Co suspended work on Tuesday at the SC plant where it assembles 787 widebody jetliners, and a Volvo automobile plant in South Carolina's evacuation zone was also closed, company officials said. That type of rain would cause historic flooding for the region that would occur during the storm and for days after the rain stops due to river flooding.

"This one really scares me", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said.

Because Hurricane Florence is so unbelievably massive, astronauts had to use a super wide-angle lens to capture photographs of the monstrous storm from space.

President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency in North and SC, thus facilitating federal aid to those states.

In South Carolina, traffic in all lanes of Interstate 26 from Charleston to Columbia has been directed away from the coast, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said. A steady stream of vehicles filled with people and belongings is moving inland.

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