Gov. Northam issues mandatory evacuation for portion of Hampton Roads, Eastern Shore

NC rep asks Trump for expedited disaster declaration ahead of Hurricane Florence

NC rep asks Trump for expedited disaster declaration ahead of Hurricane Florence

The governor of South Carolina, Henry McMaster, ordered the mandatory evacuation of the state's entire 187-mile coastline at noon on Tuesday.

The storm's first effects were already apparent on barrier islands as unsafe rip currents hit beaches and seawater flowed over a state highway - the harbinger of a storm surge that could wipe out dunes and submerge entire communities. With those two bodies of water surrounding where so many people live, how vulnerable is Wilmington to flooding and storm surge?

If Florence slows to a crawl just off the coast, it could carry torrential rains up into the Appalachian mountains, causing flash floods, mudslides and other unsafe weather across a wide area.

People living well inland should prepare to lose power and endure flooding and other hazards, he warned.

Helene - 490km west of the Cape Verde islands off the African coast - has winds up to 150km/h and is expected to continue moving west-northwest for another couple of days, the NHC said in its bulletin.

"As of right now, as of the 11 o'clock advisory, we don't anticipate any significant issues from Hurricane Florence, " said Chatham Emergency Management Agency Director Dennis Jones at a press conference Monday afternoon.

People fleeing coastal North and SC clogged highways Wednesday as Florence bore down on the coast for a direct hit in a low-lying region dense with beachfront vacation homes.

Other top officials involved in last year's hurricane season, including Long and Nielsen, also remain in place.

Hurricane Florence has now intensified to category 4, with 130 miles per hour winds.

Although the storm's winds will likely diminish rapidly after making landfall, the heavy rain will persist as it stalls over portions of North Carolina and Virginia.

Both Virginia and Maryland have now declared a state of emergency, while the National Park Service is readying itself to deploy a flood levee for the first time across 17th Avenue NW to prevent flooding downtown. Also, looking like a direct hit on North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

"North Carolina is taking Hurricane Florence seriously, and you should, too", Cooper said, urging residents to prepare for lengthy power outages after the hurricane comes.

"This is one of the worst storms to hit the East Coast in many years", President Donald Trump warned on Twitter. Schools, state government offices and medical facilities, including nursing homes in those counties, will be evacuated as well, McMaster said.

Monday is the climatological peak date of hurricane season, the height of the eight-week period when the most powerful storms usually form, CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri said.

A category 3 hurricane has winds of 96 to 112 miles per hour, the NHC said. And Virginia's governor ordered a mandatory evacuation for some residents of low-lying coastal areas.

Northam's decision comes after costal communities in North Carolina ordered mandatory evacuations and SC officials ordered an evacuation of their entire coast line.

"But I'm staying", she said.

Mike Herring with Frank's Ice Company unloads another pallet of ice as people buy supplies at The Home Depot on Monday in Wilmington, N.C.