Georgia governor declares state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Florence

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Governors of those states have already declared states of emergency, as have the governors of Virginia and Maryland.

"We really just don't know", Vaughan said.

However, her agency was prepared to assist neighboring SC and North Carolina, which are in the landfall bullseye for Category 4 Hurricane Florence, according to some computer models.

Up to 1.7 million people are under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders, and coastal residents were frantically boarding up homes and businesses and hitting the road on Wednesday as the storm approached.

NASA shared a new sobering view of Florence on Wednesday morning.

National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said damaging winds and rain could begin hitting the coast late Thursday, pushing a storm surge that could reach 13 feet in places.

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A hurricane warning was in effect from the South Santee River in SC to Duck, N.C., nearly 400 miles. A graphic of Hurricane Florence's path, generated today (Sept. 12) at 2 p.m.

Its expected sluggishness is becoming more common, possibly a result of climate change, said National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration climate scientist and hurricane expert Jim Kossin. For example, the seas off of Wilmington, North Carolina have risen 7.5 inches since 1935, according to NOAA.

The National Hurricane Center projects rainfall anywhere from 5 to 20 inches across SC.

In the first tweet, Alexander Gerst shared images of the Hurricane Florence's eye as the "no-kidding nightmare" storm is swirling above the Atlantic Ocean.

Mass evacuations in the Carolinas and Virginia are starting the clock ticking on business-interruption insurance policies, which help replace lost income for companies when natural disasters strike.

Hurricane Florence is now expected to head more directly west after making landfall, crossing through SC. But his partner, Emily Whisler, said she will remain behind at the university where she is a resident in the psychiatry program.

North Carolina governor Roy Cooper told locals not to "bet your life on riding out a monster", with ferocious winds set to batter the shoreline.

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Experts say the lagoons should be able to handle about 3 feet of rain, but hog farmers, who have been trying to pump manure out of the ponds and spray it on fields as fertilizer, aren't convinced.

"In addition, the storm's slow track will promote a prolonged period of hurricane force and tropical storm force winds, maintaining a high probability of widespread power outages for areas in Florence's path".

Their entire neighborhood evacuated in Wilmington, North Carolina, David and Janelle Garrigus planned to ride out Florence at their daughter's one-bedroom apartment in Charlotte.

In South Carolina, traffic along parts of Interstate 26 and United States 501 has been directed away from the coast.

Florence will bring large rainfall totals through Saturday in North Carolina, north SC and Virginia, causing catastrophic flash flooding.

"People do not live and survive to tell the tale about what their experience is like with storm surge", he said.

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On Wednesday, people across the region rushed to buy bottled water and other supplies, board up their homes, pull their boats out of the water and get out of town. North Carolina alone could get from 20 to 30 inches, with isolated spots possibly receiving 40 inches.

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