The UK Foreign Office (FCO) said in its travel advisory: "Hurricane Florence is forecast to bring life-threatening weather conditions to North Carolina and SC, with potential effects in coastal Georgia and Virginia". He estimated a million people will be affected by the order, including residents and visitors.
Florence's large size - tropical storm force winds extend 170 miles from the center in all directions - means its fury will arrive long before the center of the storm comes ashore, Graham said.
As of noon Tuesday, lanes will reverse on Interstate 26 from Charleston to Columbia and US 501 from Myrtle Beach.
Horry County will have two four-lane reversals along US 501 - from S.C. 544 to USA 378, and between S.C. 22 and S.C. 576 near Marion County.
The parking lot has been full for three days at the Ace Hardware store in coastal Calabash, North Carolina, where manager Tom Roberts said he sold 150 gas cans in two hours Monday, along with generators, plywood, rope, manual can openers, sand bags and a plethora of other items. He also noted that he'd been in contact with the governors of South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia to assure them the federal government was available to provide assistance.
"We are in the bullseye", Cooper told a news conference Monday.
"This is a real hurricane we have coming", South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said Monday.
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A team of researchers at Harvard University announced in May that they believed Hurricane Maria's death toll was 4,600. Millions have been ordered to evacuate their homes as the storm rages closer to the mainland.
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The evacuation order becomes mandatory at noon Tuesday, but cameras show traffic already backing up along the main interstate connecting Charleston and Columbia. The center of the massive storm is then forecast to meander Thursday, Friday and Saturday over a stretch of coastline saturated by rising seas.
The Dare County Commission ordered evacuations of Hatteras Island, also part of the Outer Banks, on Monday and Tuesday.
When Florence will reach the USA, he is the hurricane of the 4th category out of five, say.
"It's really hard to speculate this far out, since there's still significant uncertainty in the track", Sara Orsi, spokeswoman for flight-tracking service FlightAware, said about how Florence might impact flights after landfall.
In its latest update, Helene is a Category 2 hurricane with 105 mph winds, and it is located 375 miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands, moving 16 mph to the west-northwest.
"It's on par with the storms we flew past year, like Maria and Irma", Kibbey said. "All of those rivers in our area could potentially see significant flooding". Even before the evacuation order, Dare County emergency officials warned that rough seas and strong rip currents already were creating unsafe conditions.