Evacuations in United States ahead of Hurricane Florence

Standstill traffic for 30 miles on I-95 near Georgia-SC border as Florence evacuees flee | Island Packet

Parts of Virginia, North Carolina, and SC have issued mandatory evacuation orders, and governors of all three states as well as Maryland have declared states of emergency in the run-up to Florence making landfall.

Florence could be the worst hurricane to hit the Carolinas in over 60 years since category 4 hurricane "Hazel" struck in 1954.

"This is no ordinary storm, and people could be without power for a very long time - not days but weeks", Fountain said on a call with reporters, according to Bloomberg.

Landfall is expected late Thursday or early Friday, and the National Hurricane Center fears the storm "will slow considerably or stall, leading to a prolonged and exceptionally heavy and unsafe rainfall event Friday-Sunday".

"We hope to have something left when we get home", she said.

The storm is now 280 miles southeast of Wilmington with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph.

Winds will be at least 100 miles per hour as the storm approaches the coast.

Faced with new forecasts that showed a more southerly threat, Georgia's governor joined his counterparts in Virginia and North and SC in declaring a state of emergency, and some residents who had thought they were safely out of range boarded up their homes.

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for...

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A state of emergency has also been declared in Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington.

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.

The eastbound lanes of several major highways have been shut to allow traffic to flow inland, but the exodus was slow along roads jammed with outward-bound vehicles.

"What can you do?" she asked. "I want to get them as far away as possible".

"I've been through hurricanes before but never with kids", she said.

SC ordered the mandatory evacuation of one million coastal residents while North Carolina ordered an evacuation of the Outer Banks, barrier islands that are a popular tourist destination.

Florence is being trailed in the Atlantic by two other storms - Hurricane Helene and Tropical Storm Isaac.

The Ridgeland Fire Department urges residents in areas that typically flood to leave for higher ground.

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