Wherever Florence makes landfall -- its impact will be far-reaching

Mandatory evacuations issued for Outer Banks ahead of Florence

Among the many truly fearsome aspects Hurricane Florence poses to the Carolina coast and beyond is a potentially catastrophic storm surge, which some experts say could reach as much as 15 to 20 feet.

The category 4 hurricane is expected to make landfall in the US late Thursday night, bringing heavy winds and up to 30 inches of rain.

With "monumental" rainfall totals of up to 40 inches possible, "the rain from Florence may break all-time state records for rainfall from a hurricane or tropical storm", Weather Underground meteorologist Jeff Masters said.

South Carolina Walker Townsend, at right, from the Isle of Palms, S.C., fills a sand bag while Dalton Trout, in center, holds the bag at the Isle of Palms municipal lot where the city was giving away free sand in preparation for Hurricane Florence at the Isle of Palms S.C., September 10, 2018. A hurricane watch was in effect for Edisto Beach, S.C., to Virginia's southern border, with the first hurricane-force winds arriving late Thursday.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued a state evacuation order Monday for that state's coastal residents.

Preston Guiher carries a sheet of plywood as he prepares to board up a Wells Fargo bank in preparation for Hurricane Florence in downtown Charleston, S.C., on Tuesday.

"North Carolina is taking Hurricane Florence seriously, and you should too", Cooper said Monday.

The governors of South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia have declared emergencies.

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US President Donald Trump signed declarations of emergency on Tuesday for both North Carolina and SC, freeing up federal money and resources for storm response.

The Phillies, chasing the Braves in the NL East, are scheduled to play a home series over the weekend against the Marlins as Florence is expected to make its way inland and north. But scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) take a different approach - they fly directly into the centers of massive hurricanes in specialized four-engine aircraft called Hurricane Hunters. And of course, inland flooding from heavy rain. All models are now pointing to a direct hit from Florence in the Carolinas. The current forecast track suggests the hurricane will most likely approach North Carolina or SC on Thursday as it gathers speed.

Delta Air Lines travel to, from, or through cities in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Savannah, Georgia through September 16 can be rebooked for free by September 20.

United flights to and from North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Savannah, Georgia through September 16 can be changed for free.

President Donald Trump was briefed on the hurricane and said the "federal government stands by, ready to assist 24/7".

Hurricane Florence remained a fierce Category 4 hurricane Tuesday morning after doubling in size a day earlier as it churned toward the Carolina coast.

Further east, forecasters are watching Hurricane Helene and Tropical Storm Isaac in the Atlantic, and a patch of showers in the western Caribbean, which has a 30 per cent chance of becoming a cyclone in the next 2 days.

"If it stalls, we're expecting significant rainfall- the largest threat to life from hurricanes is not the high wind- flooding is the deadliest result of these storms", Northam said.

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