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13 September 2018, 03:38 | Ross Houston
Chuck Burton APSand bags surround homes on North Topsail Beach N.C. Sept. 12 2018 as Hurricane Florence threatens the coast
A considerable portion of east coast residents are preparing for or evacuating from the category 2 hurricane to make landfall. President Donald Trump said there was nothing to fear because his administration did such good work responding to last year's storms - including Hurricane Maria, which killed 3,000 people in Puerto Rico. We're fully prepared, food, medical, everything you can imagine, we are ready.
Landfall is expected late Thursday or early Friday, and the National Hurricane Center fears the storm "will slow considerably or stall, leading to a prolonged and exceptionally heavy and unsafe rainfall event Friday-Sunday".
More than 1.5 million people have been ordered to evacuate coastal areas ahead of the storm because of both destructive winds and a storm surge that could place normally dry land under at least 10 feet of water.
Usually when a storm approaches the coast, forecasters can tell with ever increasing accuracy where it will hit and who will get walloped.
Steady streams of vehicles full of people and belongings flowed inland Tuesday as North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper tried to convince everyone on North Carolina's coast to flee.
"Protection of life is the absolute highest priority", he added.
One grocery store in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, sported a plea for divine intervention - with forecasters warning that the threat of devastation remains high despite the downgrade.
Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help deal with what could be weeks of power outages in the aftermath, the company said.
Duke Energy Corp expected between 25 percent and 75 percent of its 4 million customers would lose power in the Carolinas.
As of 8 p.m., the storm was centered 335 miles (540 kilometers) southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, moving northwest at 16 mph (26 kph).
Hurricane force winds will begin reaching the coast of the Carolinas by Thursday morning and the storm is not expected to leave the region in the next two days.
Georgia's governor has declared a state of emergency, citing potential "changes in the storm's trajectory" as well as an influx of evacuees heading south from the Carolinas.
"The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety", Deal said.
The result: catastrophic inland flooding that could swamp homes, businesses, farm fields and industrial sites. "That's the primary driver of the evacuations that are underway by the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia right now".
Sand bags surround homes on North Topsail Beach, N.C., September 12, 2018, as Hurricane Florence threatens the coast.
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A slow-moving Hurricane Florence will soak the Carolinas
President Donald Trump on September 11 declared states of emergency for North and SC , to open avenues for federal aid. Hurricane Florence is still a few days out from making landfall , and as we've seen, the forecast tract has varied.