Hurricane Florence: Residents Told to «Get Out Now» as Typhoon Heads to US Carolinas
Highways clogged with people fleeing North and South Carolina early Wednesday as monstrous Category 4 Hurricane Florence rumbled toward the eastern US as the biggest storm there in decades.
While many coastal residents heeded mandatory evacuation orders, others boarded up homes and businesses and chose to brave the storm, which is forecast to trigger severe flash flooding as it dumps as many as three feet (almost a meter) of rain in some areas.
Life-threatening storm surges of up to a staggering 13 feet in some places were also forecast.
Emergency officials warned on Tuesday that Hurricane Florence would deliver a "direct hit" to the US East Coast. More than one million people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia have been told to flee their homes as the hurricane churns across the Atlantic Ocean towards the coast.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned that staying put would be a grave mistake and said people in evacuation zones "need to get out now."
"This is not a storm that people need to ride out," Cooper told reporters. "This is a storm that is historic, maybe once in a lifetime."
Briefing from the Oval Office, President Donald Trump urged people to heed orders to evacuate, saying "if you are asked to leave, get out."
"This will be a storm that's going to be far larger than we have seen in perhaps decades," Trump said.
"We're as ready as anybody has ever been," the president added. "We are sparing no expense."
Speaking in the Oval Office alongside Trump, FEMA administrator Brock Long said Florence may be a "very devastating storm."
"The power will be off for weeks," Long said. "You're going to be displaced from your home in coastal areas. There will be flooding in inland areas as well."
A state of emergency has been declared in Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington amid concern over potential torrential rain and flooding.
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said the emergency was "effective immediately" and "ensures that we will have the resources we need to prepare."
The last time the US capital declared a state of emergency was in January 2016 when a winter storm dubbed "Snowzilla" blanketed the capital region in knee-deep snow.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team