Hurricane Florence takes aim at Southeast

Carolinas brace for Hurricane Florence which is going to be a 'Mike Tyson punch' to the coast FEMA official warns

The National Weather Service said 5.25 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million live in places covered by tropical storm warnings or watches.

The Governor issued a state of emergency around noon on Wednesday ahead of the storm.

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

The president made his comments in a videotaped message from the White House Rose Garden that he tweeted out on Wednesday morning.

A steady stream of vehicles full of people and belongings flowed inland Tuesday, and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper tried to convince everyone to flee. "Be ready and God be with you".

On the forecast track, the center of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas today, and approach the coast of North Carolina or SC in the hurricane warning area on Thursday and Friday and move slowly near the coastline through Saturday.

North Florida is still outside the cone of forecast tracks for the center of the storm, but the size of Florence means impacts will extend to a large area of the Southeast.

"The waves and the wind this storm may bring is nothing like you've ever seen", he said.

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More than 80,000 people were already without power as Florence began buffeting the coast, and more than 12,000 were in shelters. It was expected to begin pushing its way westward across SC later in the day, in a watery siege that could go on all weekend.

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Tropical storm-force winds extended 175 miles (280 kilometers) from Florence's center, and hurricane-force winds reached out 70 miles (110 kilometers).

Florence's secondary threat to the Carolinas will come from heavy rains, which will fall continuously over a wide area for several days.

"I fear that severe outages will now reach upstate SC, and flooding, perhaps across the state, could delay expected power restoration efforts for weeks after this storm passes", he s aid.

The storm is slowing down as it approaches land, and it is likely to linger over the Carolinas into the weekend. Residents in some parts of the Carolinas have been ordered to evacuate.

Because the storm is still a few days from landfall, the cone of uncertainty for Sunday and Monday shows the Florence could go as far south as southern Georgia or as far north as the Tennessee Valley.

Federal Emergency Management Agency associate administrator Jeff Byard said: "This is not going to be a glancing blow. There's no canned goods", Kristin Harrington said as she shopped at a Walmart in Wilmington. "This is more about rainfall", Panovich said. You never know. But we know.

We are only halfway through the Atlantic hurricane season, and the tropics have become much more active since August, so this may not be the last storm we see this year.

Melody Rawson evacuated her first-floor apartment in Myrtle Beach and arrived at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia, to camp for free with three other adults, her disabled son, two dogs and a pet bird.

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