'GET OUT OF ITS WAY!': 'Monster' Hurricane Florence aims to drench Carolinas

Olive Hawkins
September 13, 2018

Fierce winds and massive waves are expected to lash the coasts of North and SC and Virginia even before Florence makes landfall by early Friday, bringing a storm surge as much as 13 feet (4 meters).

Jeff Byard of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) invoked a former boxing champion to warn residents that it would bring "a Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast". Additionally, there will be damaging winds that could top 100 miles per hour, isolated tornadoes, and "devastating" storm surge.

North Carolina electric company Duke Energy Corp is expecting between 25 percent and 75 percent of its four million customers to lose power.

The center of Florence will approach the coasts of North and SC on Thursday, then move near or over the coast of southern North Carolina and eastern SC on Thursday night and Friday, the NHC added.

Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency for the state of Georgia: "in light of the storm's forecasted southward track after making landfall".

"I ask all Georgians to join me in praying for the safety of our people and all those in the path of Hurricane Florence", Deal said. "Storm surge watches are in effect in these areas - hurricane watches are in effect for coastal South Carolina, North Carolina". It may move a little north into Virginia or a little south into SC. In Virginia, officials have evacuated one state prison, though local jails in the affected area are planning to keep inmates in place after stockpiling food and fuel, the Virginian-Pilot reports.

Saturday's scheduled game between SC and Marshall has been canceled.

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"The time to prepare is nearly over", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a morning news conference.

In Columbia, South Carolina, Barry Sparks, a 66-year-old retiree, was thinking of getting out after the path of the storm shifted to the south.

"Today is the time to get your preparedness actions complete", he said. He said the government is prepared for the storm.

A satellite image showing Hurricane Florence in the Atlantic Ocean this week.

"If I need to evacuate I can go to my son's house" in North Carolina, Sparks said as he carted a load of water bottles to his vehicle.

"If you aren't under evacuation orders, now's the time to finish preparations and get ready to hunker down", Cooper said. "The water level will get a little high but we'll be fine".

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