‘Extremely dangerous’ Hurricane Florence is now packing winds of 220 km/h

‘Extremely dangerous’ Hurricane Florence is now packing winds of 220 km/h

‘Extremely dangerous’ Hurricane Florence is now packing winds of 220 km/h

It's expected to make landfall on Thursday along the coast of North and SC.

A man walks a flooded street in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.

The NHC warned they're likely to cause "life-threatening surf and rip current conditions".

The weather system is now a category four storm carrying sustained winds of about 215km/h. The parking lot has been full for three days at the Ace Hardware store in coastal Calabash, North Carolina, where manager Tom Roberts said he sold 150 gas cans in two hours Monday, along with generators, plywood, rope, manual can openers, sand bags and a plethora of other items.

Powerful Hurricane Florence grew larger on Tuesday and is expected to bring days of rain, deadly flooding and power outages lasting weeks after it slams into the U.S. Southeast coast later this week. It's now considered a Category 4 hurricane, but the NWS expects the storm to strengthen over the next day or so.

It could weaken on Thursday, according to current predictions, but officials cautioned Florence will most probably remain "an extremely unsafe major hurricane through landfall".

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After the storm surge comes the deluge of rain.

US President Donald Trump urged residents to "be safe" as the Hurricane was like to make a "direct hit on North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia".

Trump, who has faced criticism for his administration's response to Hurricane Maria in 2017, which killed an estimated 3,000 people in the USA territory of Puerto Rico, knocked out power to all 3.4 million residents of the Caribbean island, with thousands still without power even six months after the storm hit, said the federal government was "totally prepared" for Florence.

A shop owner boards up his Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, building.

With South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster saying: "Now is the time for your family also to prepare and stay tuned for more updates".

"On the forecast track, the center of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas Tuesday and Wednesday and approach the coast of SC or North Carolina on Thursday".

Hurricane Florence Expected to Become Major Hurricane Very Soon
Florence has maximum sustained winds of 105 miles per hour , though that number is likely to increase as the storm strengthens. McMaster said he had asked President Donald Trump to declare a federal emergency in SC in anticipation of the storm's arrival.

The chief meteorologist for WCBD-TV in South Carolina, Rob Fowler, told the BBC that Florence was getting bigger, and those even 100 miles away would feel the impact. "People usually say 'it's ok, the hurricane will turn North, we'll be fine'".

Rainfall could be up to 20in (50cm) in some areas. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas.

"This storm is a monster", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a Tuesday news conference about the most powerful storm to approach the Carolinas in almost three decades.

Service stations started running out of gas as far west as Raleigh, with bright yellow bags, signs or rags placed over the pumps to show they were out of order.

He said the agency has implemented changes since 2017, improving their partnerships with the private sector, in particular fuel, transportation and electrical companies, to better meet needs on the ground after a disaster.

Hurricane-force winds are extending up to 65 kilometres from the storm's centre, while tropical-storm-force winds are blowing out at up to 240 kilometres.

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Schools and state parks have closed.

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