Meteorologists have given Hurricane Florence, which is now heading towards the USA, a category four level strength, meaning the storm could cause major structural damage costing millions.
"We've seen nor'easters and we've seen hurricanes before", Cooper said, "but this one is different". Landfall was expected sometime late Thursday and FEMA officials said Wednesday was the last day for people to get out safely. REUTERS/Chris KeanePeople walk past a boarded up building before Hurricane Florence comes ashore in Carolina Beach, North Carolina, U.S., September 12, 2018.
I know that North Carolinians are a hardy bunch and we've seen nor'easters and hurricanes before, but this one is different.
Florence is forecast to dump up to three feet (almost a meter) of rain in some areas.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency "in light of the storm's forecasted southward track after making landfall".
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People fleeing North and SC clogged coastal highways early Wednesday as Hurricane Florence, a monster Category 4 storm, bore down on the USA east coast for a direct hit in a low-lying region dense with beachfront vacation homes.
SC ordered the mandatory evacuation of one million coastal residents while North Carolina ordered an evacuation of the Outer Banks, barrier islands that are a popular tourist destination.
The mayor of a SC city in the path of powerful Hurricane Florence is warning citizens to get out or stay "at your own peril".
The storm is still on track to make landfall in the coastal carolina region, but is starting to drift south. Officials say it is possible SC will bear the brunt of Hurricane Florence.
Although slow weakening is expected to begin by late Thursday, Florence is still forecast to be an extremely unsafe major hurricane when it nears the USA coast late Thursday and Friday, the NHC added.
Most of the area will likely endure winds near or just below Tropical Storm force Friday.
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The hurricane has already sparked mass evacuation in Wilmington, North Carolina, all the way up to the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Usually when a storm approaches the coast, forecasters can tell with ever-increasing accuracy who will get walloped.
President Donald Trump declared states of emergency for North and SC and Virginia, opening the way for federal aid.
Jeff Byard of the Federal Emergency Management Agency invoked a former boxing champion to warn residents that Florence would bring "a Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast".
Up to 1.7 million people have now been ordered to leave their homes as the USA braces for Hurricane Florence.
At 11:00 pm (0300 GMT), the eye of the storm was 280 miles (450 km) southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, moving northwest at 17 mph.
Gov. Henry McMaster has ordered evacuations in counties along the state's coast, including Charleston. It is poised to slow to a crawl there and then drift to the southwest, unloading disastrous amounts of rain.
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