Myrtle Beach is within an area under a hurricane warning that ran from South Santee River, South Carolina, to Duck, North Carolina, at 2pm local time. But he's not planning to leave his home in Carolina Beach, and is riding out the storm with his neighbors.
The hurricane center is forecasting the storm to hover near the coast Saturday with winds of around 80 miles per hour (130 kph) before landfall, but with rainfall in the 20 to 30 inches (50 to 75 centimeter) range and up to 13 feet (nearly 4 meters) of storm surge.
Besides inundating the coast with wind-driven storm surges of seawater as high as 4m along the Carolina coast, Florence could dump 51-76cm of rain, with up to 101cm in parts of North Carolina, the NHC said. "With time, the wind pushes the water into every nook and cranny you can think of", Graham said. As the storm moves inland, Georgia, Virginia and Maryland will also be in peril.
It's unclear exactly how many people fled, but more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out.
The National Hurricane Center's best guess was that Florence would blow ashore as early as Friday afternoon around the North Carolina-South Carolina line, then push its rainy way westward with a potential for catastrophic inland flooding. "It's called Mother Nature, you never know, but we know", he also said in a video posted to Twitter Wednesday morning. "We are going to live here through our retirement".
Mr McMaster said: "Even responders can not stay there".
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In the latest five-day forecast, the entire state is under the "cone of uncertainty" for Wednesday. Hawai'i County will not be distributing sandbags until active flooding occurs.
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Sample said he and his wife are joining Hoffman because they're not certain they'll find a pet-friendly shelter. Home Depot and Lowe's activated emergency response centers to get generators, trash bags and bottled water to stores before and after the storm.
If anyone left out there doubts Florence's sheer capacity to wreak havoc in the coming days, this NOAA satellite image (from former NASA scientist and Professor Marshall Shepherd) should do the convincing. "We'll handle it. We're ready, we're able".
Authorities have warned residents who are staying behind to provide contacts of their next of kin due to the risks involved.
Hurricane Florence, growing in size and intensity, crept closer to the US East Coast on Wednesday as disaster mobilisations expanded south from the Carolinas into Georgia to counter the threat of fierce winds, deadly high seas and calamitous floods.
"This is a mandatory evacuation".
Air Canada and Alaska Airlines have canceled their flights in and out of RDU on Thursday, but had not made any announcements about Friday as of 9 p.m. Wednesday.