'Monster' Hurricane Florence to pummel US Southeast for days

Businesses have boarded up ahead of the arrival of the storm

Image Businesses have boarded up ahead of the arrival of the storm

U.S. President Donald Trump is expressing confidence the federal government is prepared for this week's onslaught of Hurricane Florence, which is predicted to be one of the most powerful storms in almost three decades to slam into the mid-Atlantic region.

Cooper said local governments are typically responsible for issuing evacuation orders in North Carolina, and some localities have already issued orders to evacuate.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed declarations of emergency for North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, freeing up federal resources for storm response.

Trump was being briefed by the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the Oval Office on Tuesday.

The Coast Guard started positioning rescue helicopters, equipment and people to best respond to the storm several days ago, and brought in some assistance from other parts of the country, service officials said.

President Donald Trump has declared states of emergency for North and SC and Virginia, saying the USA government is "absolutely, totally prepared" for Florence.

The storm strengthened from 130 miles per hour to 140 miles per hour and is Category 4, the NHC said.

The storm is now about 950 miles from the Carolina coast line, but moving in that direction at about 15 mph.

Strader pointed to the fact that since 1940, the population residing in Florence's cone of probability grew 1325 per cent, including a large spurt in the wake of Hurricane Hugo - the last major hurricane to make landfall in the Carolinas - in 1989.

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The hurricane could inundate low-lying islands off the coast of North Carolina, like the Outer Banks and other barrier islands, according to the NHC.

"This is one of the worst storms to hit the East Coast in many years", Trump warned on Twitter.

Hurricane Florence strengthened to a category 4 storm on Monday as it barreled toward the mid-Atlantic. In the six decades since then, many thousands of people have moved to the coast.

Millions have been ordered to evacuate their homes as the storm rages closer to the mainland.

And the storm surge, which could be as much as 12 feet in some areas, will be on top of sea level rise from climate change.

Boeing and Volvo are both shutting down their factories near Charleston, South Carolina to give employees a chance to evacuate.

Florence's projected path includes half a dozen nuclear power plants, pits holding coal-ash and other industrial waste, and numerous hog farms that store animal waste in massive open-air lagoons. "We can't know for certain the amount of damage the storm will inflict, but the sensible decision at this time is to not play the game". Isaac became a tropical storm again approaching the Caribbean, while Hurricane Helene was veering northward, no threat to land.

But tropical storm-force winds (greater than 39 miles per hour) should arrive more than 12 hours earlier - around sunrise on Thursday.

"They told me to bring a pillow and blanket", Whisler said.

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