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Major Hurricane Florence Barreling Towards The Carolinas Amidst A Busy Tropical Atlantic

12 September 2018

With maximum sustained winds of 220 km/h, Florence was due to grow even stronger before making landfall on Thursday, mostly likely in southeastern North Carolina near the SC border, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

Florence was expected to blow ashore late Thursday or early Friday, then slow down and wring itself out for days, unloading 1 to 2½ feet of rain that could cause flooding well inland and wreak environmental havoc by washing over industrial waste sites and hog farms.

South Carolina's governor ordered the state's entire coastline evacuated starting at noon Tuesday and predicted that 1 million people would flee as highways reverse directions.

Hurricane Florence is bearing down on the East Coast, bringing 105 miles per hour winds and a risk of flooding.

"Florence is expected to be an extremely unsafe major hurricane through Thursday (Sept. 13)", said officials.

But Hurricane Florence is not alone in the Atlantic Ocean.

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Monster storm Mangkhut surpassed Florence's strength on Tuesday, with peak winds of about 260 km/h, and the storm is forecast to strengthen further - closing in on sustained winds of 280 km/h - as it surges toward Hong Kong later this week.

Hurricane Florence, Hurricane Isaac, Hurricane Helene track in Atlantic Ocean.

"You're going to get heavy rain, catastrophic life-threatening storm surge, and also the winds", Graham said.

Two other hurricanes - Isaac and Helene - have also formed in the Atlantic Ocean.

Hurricane conditions are possible within the hurricane watch area by Thursday morning, with tropical storm conditions possible early Thursday in both the hurricane and tropical storm watch areas.

The largest U.S. Marine Corps base on the East Coast, Camp Lejeune and its extensive beachfront northeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, lie within the NHC's forecast "cone" for possible landfall.

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Panicked residents in the path of the storm ransacked petrol supplies at gas stations, a spokesman for North Carolina Petroleum Marketers Association said.

Hurricane Helene is way out near Africa. We're just a strip of land - we're a barrier island. The rapidly intensifying storm could strike a direct and risky blow anywhere from the Carolinas to the Mid-Atlantic region later this week, possibly as a fearsome category 4.

SC and North Carolina have ordered evacuations for people living in vulnerable areas along the coast.

"Interests along the US East Coast, particularly Florida through North Carolina, should closely monitor the progress of Florence, ensure they have their hurricane plan in place and follow any advice given by local officials", the NHC said. She said her house, built in 2009 in Buxton, North Carolina, is on a ridge and built to withstand a hurricane. "There is no way to be completely safe".

But, she added, she's not sure whether going inland would be much safer: "I don't know where to go from here".

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Major Hurricane Florence Barreling Towards The Carolinas Amidst A Busy Tropical Atlantic