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Monster Hurricane Florence aims to drench Carolinas

President Trump talks about Hurricane Florence during a briefing in the White House’s Oval Office on Tuesday. More President Trump talks about Hurricane Florence during a briefing in the White House’s Oval Office on Tuesday. More
Sandy Nunez | 13 September, 2018, 14:02

As Hurricane Florence churns toward the Carolina coast as a Category 4 hurricane, a number of major airlines have begun issuing waivers and advisories. It added that the hurricane should approach the U.S. coast by Thursday.

The current forecast for both the impact and aftermath of the hurricane would require those officials to divert critical resources from what could be much more significant duties.

Steady streams of vehicles full of people and belongings flowed inland Tuesday as Gov. Roy Cooper tried to convince everyone on North Carolina's coast to flee. Most other beachgoers were long gone.

At least 250,000 more people were due to be evacuated from the northern Outer Banks in North Carolina on Tuesday after more than 50,000 people were ordered on Monday to leave Hatteras and Ocracoke, the southernmost of the state's barrier islands.

At the White House, President Donald Trump urged people to "get out of its way".

Town Manager Mike Cramer said law enforcement officers will try to assess how many people are still on the island immediately south of Wilmington.

Forecasters anxious the storm's damage will be all the worse if it lingers on the coast.

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In contrast to the hurricane center's official projection, a highly regarded European model had the storm turning southward off the North Carolina coast and coming ashore near the Georgia-South Carolina line. "Flooding is nearly guaranteed".

Florence is forecast to crawl up to the North Carolina coast late this week and turn slowly left - a development that would smash the Tar Heel State with life-threatening storm surge, catastrophic winds and inundating rain while also endangering a large portion of SC.

Florence, one of the strongest storms on the Eastern Seaboard in decades, is a strong Category 2 hurricane with winds of 110 miles per hour.

Florence is unusual in that it is aiming at the Carolinas from the east. Florence could bring life-threatening storm surges, up to 13 feet. "If this blows at 120 mph for four hours, . you lose a shingle every two minutes, and all of the sudden, you've lost your whole roof after four hours", CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said. When and where it will make landfall is unclear.

Motorists streamed inland on highways converted to one-way evacuation routes Tuesday as about 1.7 million people in three states were warned to get out of the way of Hurricane Florence, a hair-raising storm taking dead aim at the Carolinas with 140 miles per hour (225 kph) winds and potentially ruinous rains. The trend is "exceptionally bad news", said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy, since it "smears a landfall out over hundreds of miles of coastline, most notably the storm surge".

"Even the rescuers can not stay there", he said.

"We're a good community up there. We know we can't play around with this", said Jennifer Oosterwyk, who owns the Sugar Britches boutique on Holden Beach and lives in nearby Wilmington.