Governors in all four states have declared a state of emergency ahead of what is predicted to be the worst deluge to hit the Carolinas in 30 years, and the fiercest storm to hit the US this year.
The hurricane is expected to make landfall near the border between the North and South Carolina on Thursday. The US National Hurricane Center in Miami has issued warnings of storm surges and flooding, 220 kilometre per hour winds, and large swells and rip-currents affecting Bermuda and portions of the US East Coast.
Florence is now nearing the highest hurricane rating, Category 5. If it reaches this level, it could bring winds of more than 251 kilometres per hour.
“Life-threatening freshwater flooding is likely from a prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall event which may extend inland over the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic for hundreds of miles as Florence is expected to slow down as it approaches the coast and moves inland,” said the latest National Hurricane Center bulletin on Monday. It also warned that damaging winds could spread well inland into parts of the Carolinas and Virginia.
Article amended on 11 September 2018
Headline changed to clarify number of people
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