SC has ordered the mandatory evacuation of its entire coast, and evacuations were also ordered for several North Carolina towns, as Category 4 Hurricane Florence continues her aggressive pursuit towards the states.
Hurricane-force winds began whipping North Carolina, as federal emergency management officials warned that the Category 2 hurricane - while weakening slightly - remains a "very risky storm" capable of wreaking havoc along a wide swathe of the coast. Tuesday morning's forecast still supports this, the National Hurricane Center said.
North Carolina governor Roy Cooper said his state was "in the bullseye" of the storm and urged people to "get ready now".
Florence was producing large swells expected to reach from the northern Caribbean to the southern coasts of Canada's maritime provinces. And some forecasts have the storm slowing to linger over the Carolinas, spreading heavy rain all the way to West Virginia while leading to flooding and power outages.
"There is an increasing risk of coastal storm surge flooding and freshwater flooding from heavy prolonged rain when the hurricane approaches the USA", said a NOAA tweet.
The entire SC coast is now under a mandatory evacuation order beginning at noon tomorrow.
Residents in eight counties along the coast - Jasper, Beaufort, Colleton, Charleston, Dorchester, Berkeley, Georgetown and Horry - must begin evacuating by noon Tuesday, McMaster said at a news briefing.
Ships undergoing maintenance and unable to leave port can add storm lines, drop anchor and disconnect power lines, according to the Navy.
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Americans have been invited to shoot "guns at Hurricane Florence" in a freakish event created to scare the storm away. The president has spoken to the governors of both Carolinas and Virginia, the White House said Monday. Eastbound lanes of Interstate 26 heading into Charleston and US 501 heading into Myrtle Beach will be reversed when the order takes effect.
American Airlines said it's is monitoring three separate storms and has issued travel alerts to a total of 39 airports in different parts of the world. It's estimated that 1 million people will be impacted by Florence's arrival.
In Holden Beach, North Carolina, in the storm's path, longtime residents were busy securing their homes and possessions. It says total rainfall could reach 30 inches in some places, prompting life-threatening flash flooding from SC to Northern Virginia. The California Emergency Services Act also includes possibilities of a fine up to $1,000 or imprisonment for up to six months.
The eastbound lane of Interstate 26 into Charleston and Route 501 into Myrtle Beach will be reversed beginning Tuesday when the order takes effect, McMaster said at a Monday news conference.
This happened previous year, too, when Hurricane Jose and Tropical Storms Maria and Lee were churning at the same time.
That means sustained winds of at least 130 miles per hour and expectations of catastrophic damage, the hurricane center says.
Life-threatening storm surges - as high as 10 feet or more - also are likely along portions of the coast, in addition to high surf and "deadly" rip currents, which Quagliariello said will continue through the week.
"We've basically got everything we need. and we're just going to wait it out for a few days", he said.