Hurricane Florence packing a 'Mike Tyson punch', says top United States official

Chuck Ledford and his daughter Misty seek shelter at Emma B. Trask Middle School in Wilmington North Carolina

Chuck Ledford and his daughter Misty seek shelter at Emma B. Trask Middle School in Wilmington North Carolina

- Hurricane Florence continues to gain strength while steadily making its way toward the East Coast.

Hurricane Florence, the monster Category 3 storm taking aim at the North and SC coastline, is expected to make landfall by the end of this week and bring with it devastating wind, rain and storm surge.

Computer models show Florence's storm surge will flood tens of thousands of homes and businesses. Stormhunters Jaclyn Whittal and Mark Robinson will be LIVE in the Carolinas with the latest.

"We are taking this completely seriously", said Ted W. Goins Jr., president of Lutheran Services Carolinas, whose seven facilities are staying open during the hurricane.

It is expected to make landfall this evening and wind destruction and flooding is highly likely.

People drive over a drawbridge in Wrightsville Beach, N.C., as they evacuate the area in advance of Hurricane Florence, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018.

The centre of Florence, no longer classified as a major hurricane but still posing a grave threat to life and property, is expected to strike North Carolina's southern coast tomorrow, then drift southwest along the shoreline before moving inland on Saturday, the NHC said.

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Mr Graham said the Pamlico and Neuse rivers in North Carolina will see their flows "reversed" as storm surges push water back inland.

Hurricane Florence put a corridor of more than 10 million people in the crosshairs Wednesday as the monster storm closed in on the Carolinas, uncertainty over its projected path spreading worry across a widening swath of the Southeast.

The governor of neighbouring North Carolina ordered an evacuation of the Outer Banks, barrier islands that are a popular tourist destination, and parts of coastal Dare County, while a state of emergency was declared in Virginia. The airline doesn't plan to have employees at the airport either day and says travelers will need to rebook their flights online or by phone.

He said electric power could be out for weeks.

As of Tuesday, about 1.7 million people in North and SC and Virginia were under warnings to evacuate the coast, and hurricane watches and warnings extended across an area with about 5.4 million residents.

Their entire neighborhood evacuated in Wilmington, North Carolina, David and Janelle Garrigus planned to ride out Florence at their daughter's one-bedroom apartment in Charlotte.

"It's going to be bad", said Woody White, chairman of the New Hanover County Commissioners.

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