One million ordered to evacuate as Hurricane Florence nears coast

NASA photo shows a view from the International Space Station of Hurricane Florence off the US east coast in the Atantic Ocean on September 10, 2018 | AFP PHOTO / NASA / RICKY ARNOLD

Evacuation orders were issued for over a million people on the coast of Carolina as Hurricane Florence is expected to arrive in three days. Hurricane Florence is a powerful Category 4 storm packing winds of 220 kilometers per hour as it bears down on the East Coast of the United States. It is said to be the most powerful hurricane the region has seen in nearly three decades.

Florence is expected to make landfall on Thursday, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said. Authorities also warned of life-threatening coastal storm surges and the potential for Florence to unleash prolonged torrential rains and widespread flooding across several states, especially if it lingers inland for several days.

“Florence is expected to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane through Thursday,” the NHC said in its latest bulletin. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference his state was in “the bull’s eye.”

Mindful of devastation wrought by a string of deadly U.S. hurricanes last year, jittery residents in the Carolinas began the rituals of disaster preparation - boarding up windows and stocking up on groceries, water and gasoline.

Classified as a Category 4 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane strength, Florence stood as the most severe storm to threaten the U.S. mainland this year and the first of its magnitude to take aim at the Carolinas since 1989, when Hurricane Hugo barreled over Charleston, South Carolina.

(With inputs from Reuters)