More than 1 million people along the Carolina coast fled toward higher ground on Monday in a mass evacuation ordered three days before the expected arrival of Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 storm and the most powerful to menace the region in nearly three decades.
“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.”
NHC Director Ken Graham also warned of “staggering” amounts of rainfall that may extend hundreds of miles inland and cause flash flooding across the mid-Atlantic region.
Forecasts call for 10 to 15 inches (25-38 cm) of rain in the hardest-hit areas, possibly more if the storm stalls over land, as expected, Graham said.
Virginia’s emergency operations chief, Jeffrey Stern, told reporters that residents should brace for “something that no one in Virginia has experienced in their lifetimes.”