Georgia declares state of emergency

Gwen Vasquez
September 13, 2018

It is predicted to deliver tropical-storm-force winds by noon Thursday to North Carolina's coast, and hurricane-force winds and risky storm surges by late Thursday or early Friday.

Florence's large size - tropical storm force winds extend 170 miles from the center in all directions - means its fury will arrive long before the center of the storm comes ashore, Graham said.

In addition to wind-driven storm surges of seawater, Florence could dump up to 35 inches (89 cm) in some spots as it moves inland, forecasters said.

It caused US$70.2 billion in damages, when adjusted for inflation, making it the fourth-most-destructive storm in US history, according to the US National Hurricane Center. "Disaster is at the doorstep and it's coming in".

Hurricane Helene is heading north to open sea off the coast of the United States and now poses no danger to land after the storm hit cooler waters in the Atlantic. And with the Appalachian Mountains to the west, there could be flooding and mudslides, experts worry.

"Been through it!" Belli said, referring to Hurricane Hugo, which caused widespread damage in SC in 1989.

Governor Nathan Deal has issued a state of emergency for all 159 counties in Georgia as Hurricane Florence makes its way toward the east coast.

Cooper and his SC counterpart, Henry McMaster, told the more than 1 million people who have been told to leave that if they don't, they are on their own.

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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.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency warned that storm surge watches and warnings are in effect Wednesday for the entire North Carolina coast and parts of SC.

Parts the eastern seaboard of the United States will be deluged with 40 inches of rain and suffer a "Mike Tyson punch" from Hurricane Florence, emergency planners warned today.

Massive waves from the hurricane will make the rush of water even more unsafe and damaging, the National Hurricane Center warned.

The U.S. Coast Guard closed ports in Wilmington and Morehead City, North Carolina and Hampton Roads, Virginia to inbound vessels greater than 500 tons and was requiring vessels of that size to leave if they did not have permission to be in the ports. All seven of North Carolina's ferry routes were shut down.

Sand bags surround homes on North Topsail Beach, N.C., on Wednesday as Hurricane Florence threatens the coast.

"This is not a storm that people need to ride out", Cooper told reporters. "It's going to happen". We're just on a heightened awareness at this point.

Officials in New Hanover County, which includes Wilmington, have stockpiled enough food and water for 60,000 people for four days, along with more than 28,000 tarps.

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