Astronauts on International Space Station showcase power of Hurricane Florence in photos

Christopher Davidson
September 14, 2018

Governors in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia have issued mandatory evacuations and lane reversals. Hurricane Sandy, which hit the Mid-Atlantic and New England areas in 2012, came in at $65 billion, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Beach communities in North and SC emptied out on Wednesday as Hurricane Florence threatened to unleash pounding surf and potentially deadly flooding as the most powerful storm to make a direct hit on the states in decades. "This is going to be a Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast".

Florence's winds in the afternoon were down slightly to 125 miles per hour (205 kph), from a high of 140 miles per hour, and the Category 4 storm fell to a Category 3.

At the White House, President Donald Trump both touted the government's readiness and urged people to get out of the way of Florence.

Hurricane Florence is now expected to head more directly west after making landfall, crossing through SC.

Hurricane Florence is now a powerful Category 4 hurricane and is expected to make a unsafe impact once it makes landfall along the coast of the southeast US later this week. North and SC and Virginia declared emergencies earlier in the week.

For a swath of the North Carolina shore from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout, the storm surge could range from 9-13 feet, the NHC said.

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Caitie Sweeney of Myrtle Beach texts her family while visiting the beach ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

An Oklahoma search and rescue helicopter team left Wednesday for Hurricane Florence and will be stationed in Tennessee and the Carolinas along the East Coast to respond as needed, the Oklahoma City Fire Department reported. Florence is now heading for ocean water with surface temperatures of around 85 degrees, meaning it will likely strengthen on its way to the East Coast.

On Wednesday, forecasters projected Florence - now a category 4 hurricane - will likely slow down and turn south after slamming the East Coast. The center said the waves were measured by satellite.

The NHC said the first tropical storm-force winds of at least 63 kph would hit the region early on Thursday with the storm's centre reaching the coast Friday.

"I encourage Georgians to be prepared for the inland effects of the storm as well as the ensuing storm surge in coastal areas", he said.

Trojniar said she and her husband were packing up belongings and planned to stack sandbags around their single-floor home in Wilmington's Landfall neighborhood near the ocean before checking into a hotel to ride out the storm.

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