1,500 National Guard members called to Virginia ahead of Hurricane Florence

1,500 National Guard members called to Virginia ahead of Hurricane Florence

The approach of Hurricane Florence has sparked mandatory evacuations for parts of the Carolinas and Virginia, where the center of the Category 4 storm is expected to arrive on Thursday.

A new National Hurricane Center map predicting the likelihood of tropical storm-force winds stretches from northern Florida to eastern Kentucky and OH, and even up to the New York City area - although there's only a 5% to 10% chance of those conditions stretching that far north.

By 8 a.m. Tuesday, Florence's eye was about 950 miles (1,530 kilometers) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, and moving west-northwest at 15 mph (24 kph). It is expected to strengthen and possibly become a Category 5 storm Tuesday before closing in on North or SC on Thursday.

Should Florence make landfall as a Category 4, it would be the first Category 4 hurricane since Hazel in 1954 to hit North Carolina. SC is also seeing a mass exodus, after the state's governor ordered a mandatory evacuation of the coastal counties.

In addition to flooding the coast with wind-driven storm surges of seawater as high as 12 feet (3.7 m), Florence could drop 20 inches to as much as 30 inches (51 cm to 76 cm) of rain in places, forecasters said. Upon immediate landfall, the threats are you standard hurricane threats - storm surge, strong winds, tornadoes.

Florence is expected to cause life-threatening storm surge along coastal areas as well as life-threatening flooding both in coastal areas and inland for potentially hundreds of miles.

Liz Browning Fox was planning to ride out the storm on the Outer Banks, defying evacuation orders. The watch "means there is a possibility of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, in the indicated locations during the next 48 hours", the Hurricane Center said.

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Once the storm hits land, its powerful 130-mile per hour winds are projected to lessen to still potent 50-mph winds over the next day.

Major US military installments may be in the path of the Florence, including the largest Marine base at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and the world's biggest Navy base in Norfolk, Virginia.

Gov. Rick Scott released a statement on Monday urging Floridians to be prepared for the unexpected and remain on alert about Hurricane Florence.

Many newcomers have moved to the coast in the almost 19 years since the last strong hurricane - Floyd - threatened the area.

The storm is expected to close in on the area Thursday night. She said her house, built in 2009 in Buxton, North Carolina, is on a ridge and built to withstand a hurricane.

Officials say the storm could be reminiscent of Hurricane Harvey, which hit Texas in August 2017. "But it's important to remember the impacts of this hurricane will extend far beyond where it makes landfall".

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