Hurricane Florence evacuations expand, with ‘disaster at doorstep’

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As Hurricane Florence makes its way toward the east coast, the federal government is assuring the region and the country that it's ready.

It's expected to cause "life-threatening" storm surges and heavy rainfall for the Carolinas once it reaches shore on late Thursday and Friday, the National Hurricane Center reported Wednesday.

The National Hurricane Center says it's now expected to hit Wilmington and then veer west, taking it south of Charlotte.

As Hurricane Florence hurdled towards the East Coast, its final destination remains uncertain, but North Carolinians who appear to be in the storm's path were taking few chances.

It could stall just off the coast and then drift south along the SC coast and possibly make a landfall as a weaker system if it doesn't make it clearly over the coast of North Carolina.

Trump told residents: 'Don't play games with it. North and SC and Virginia declared emergencies earlier in the week.

As of 11 a.m., the potentially catastrophic Category 4 storm was centered 485 miles (785 kilometers) southeast of Wilmington, moving at 15 mph (24 kph) with winds of 130 mph (215 kph) and enough moisture to dump feet of rain on the region.

Officials in the Carolinas strongly urged millions of people in those states' coastal regions to evacuate, but medical facilities in the evacuation zones face a hard set of decisions when ordered to leave.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator Jeff Byard warned that despite its slight weakening, Florence will still be an extremely risky hurricane.

There are concerns that it could knock out power for weeks.

Gerst and American astronaut Ricky Arnold captured the Category 4 storm and its swirling eye up close in images posted to Twitter this morning, emphasizing its epic scale and their thoughts for people in its path.

Based on the latest information from the National Weather Service, CoreLogic uses past hurricanes, elevations above sea level and population density, among other factors, to advise emergency responders and insurers where they should focus their resources.

Her children are adults now and live out of her home, and her husband is caring for their two dogs while she is hunkered down in Roper.

When asked in a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Sheriff P.J. Tanner said the school district must first evaluate how many teachers and staff evacuated ahead of the order.

With South Carolina's beach towns more in the bull's-eye because of the shifting forecast, OH vacationers Chris and Nicole Roland put off their departure from North Myrtle Beach to get the maximum amount of time on the sand. "I encourage Georgians to be prepared for the inland effects of the storm as well as the ensuing storm surge in coastal areas".

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