Hurricane Florence: Warnings of Life-Threatening Surge
Hurricane Florence, the most powerful storm to threaten the Carolinas in nearly three decades is expected to strengthen, say forecasters.
Officials warn there is a chance of “life-threatening inundation from rising water” over the next 48 hours as Florence heads for the US East Coast.
With sustained winds of about 130mph (215km/h), the weather system is currently a category four storm.
It could make landfall on Thursday, near Wilmington, North Carolina.
Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC, and North and South Carolina have all declared states of emergency.
“This storm is a monster,” North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference on Tuesday. “It’s big and it’s vicious.
“It is an extremely dangerous, life-threatening, historic hurricane.”
The latest National Weather Service (NWS) update on Tuesday morning says Florence is expected to “continue a slow strengthening trend for the next day or so”.
It could weaken on Thursday, according to current predictions, but officials cautioned Florence will most probably remain “an extremely dangerous major hurricane through landfall”.
The NWS predicts potential storm surges of up to 12ft (3.6m) on the coasts along with dangerously large swells and rip currents.
US President Donald Trump signed declarations of emergency on Tuesday for both North Carolina and South Carolina, freeing up federal money and resources for storm response.
He tweeted that this was “one of the worst storms to hit the East Coast in many years”.