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Airlines begin canceling flights at RDU as Hurricane Florence nears the Carolinas

14 September 2018

Florence is now a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. It is moving northwest at 17 miles per hour.

About 5.25 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million live in places covered by tropical storm warnings or watches, the National Weather Service said.

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 risky rainfall event Friday-Sunday". As the evacuation orders throughout the region were about to take effect, he told us once his boat is secured - as secure as anything can be in a storm like Florence - he's heading a few miles inland, where he is hoping for the best. Tidal creeks throughout Brunswick, New Hanover, and Pender counties will also be at risk.

It says the threat of freshwater flooding will increase in coming hours and days from the storm's heavy rains.

"Well, we've had too many of them, I'm not scared", he said.

Vice President Mike Pence has cancelled a planned trip to Georgia so that he can remain in Washington DC and monitor the federal response to the hurricane.

In addition to inundating the coast with wind-driven storm surges of seawater as high as 9 feet (2.7 meters) along the Carolina coast, Florence could dump 20 to 30 inches (51-76 cm) of rain, with up to 40 inches (1 metre) in parts of North Carolina, the NHC said. The intense rainfall is guaranteed to cause flooding in low-lying and coastal areas, as well as the overflow of watersheds, retention ponds, and tributaries, according to NWS. The rainfall may produce life-threatening flash floods.

"Precautionary preparations for major flooding are advised", Kottlowski said.

As of 11 p.m., the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's projections for Hurricane Florence show 40-50 miles per hour winds affecting Chatham County.

An area from Virginia Beach to Charleston can also expect closer to 6 inches.

Parts of Virginia, North Carolina, and SC have issued mandatory evacuation orders, and governors of all three states as well as Maryland have declared states of emergency in the run-up to Florence making landfall.

The most recent predictions no longer have Florence traveling north, along the Atlantic coast.

"This will likely be the storm of a lifetime for portions of the Carolina coast", the National Weather Service in Wilmington, North Carolina, wrote in its Tuesday evening area forecast discussion, adding in a Wednesday report that flooding in southeast North Carolina and northeast SC could be "unprecedented". By Tuesday the storm is expected to move into West Virginia as it dissipates.