'Not a pretty sight': Hurricane Florence has experts anxious

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"The forecast places North Carolina in the bull's eye of Hurricane Florence, and the storm is rapidly getting stronger", Gov. Roy Cooper said Monday. In North Carolina the Outer Banks and in SC as of noon Tuesday - mandatory evacuations in eight coastal counties. Cooper already issued a state of emergency late last week. "This helps everyone find vital information more easily".

If Florence slows to a crawl just off the coast, it could bring torrential rain to the Appalachian mountains and as far away as West Virginia, causing flash floods, mudslides and other unsafe conditions.

AccuWeather meteorologist Brett Rossi said the ground in North and SC and Virginia is already saturated from recent rains.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam's office predicted "catastrophic inland flooding, high winds and possible widespread power outages", cautioning that the deadliest risk would come from flooding. "When you stall a system like this and it moves real slow, some of that rainfall can extend well away from the center".

A warm ocean is the fuel that powers hurricanes, and Florence will be moving over waters where temperatures are peaking near 30C, hurricane specialist Eric Blake wrote.

"We don't want the school children in harm's way", McMaster said, adding Hurricane Florence would create more wind than Hurricane Hugo and more water than Hurricane Matthew.

As for a hit on the USA mainland, the most recent Cat 4 at landfall was Hurricane Harvey previous year, which hit Texas with winds of 130 miles per hour. Like Haley, McMaster also closed schools and government offices across the Midlands region of SC in order to allow roadways to accommodate the exodus from the coast. The coastal areas of Virginia, South Carolina, and North Carolina are now under evacuation orders and are also the states in which airports will be most impacted by the storm.

Meanwhile, two other storms were spinning in the Atlantic. At landfall, Florence will also slow down so flooding becomes the third threat.

As Florence approaches the coast, it is forecast to strengthen.

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Mass evacuations were ordered along the U.S. Atlantic Coast as Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 storm and the most powerful to menace the region in almost three decades, barreled toward the region on Tuesday.

The airline issued a travel alert for 23 airports in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia due to Hurricane Florence.

President Donald Trump is canceling a campaign rally in advance of Hurricane Florence's landfall.

Storm surge could be as high as 6 to 12 feet from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout on North Carolina's southeast coast.

- Residents in the southern most parts of SC no longer need to evacuate due to Hurricane Florence.

Currently, 1,600 National Guard members are on duty and ready to deploy - a number Livingston said likely will grow to more than 3,000.

Hurricane Isaac and Helene can be seen to the east of Florence. Tropical storms generate winds between 39 and 73 miles per hour, just below hurricane force.

"We don't want to gamble with a single SC life", McMaster (above) said.

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