‘Extremely dangerous’ Hurricane Florence approaches US east coast

Evacuations have begun in North and South Carolina ahead of the arrival of a potentially catastrophic category four storm.
Hurricane Florence is closing in on the east coast of the US with sustained wind speeds of 140mph, with locals warned that it could be “extremely dangerous” by The National Hurricane Centre (NHC).
Supermarket shelves have been stripped and cars stocked up with petrol as thousands prepare to flee from its path, which is expected to reach the coast of one or both of the states on Thursday.
It will move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday, by which time forecasters believe it could be a category five storm.The first effects are already being seen, with rip currents having roared into beaches, causing seawater to flow over a state highway.
NHC director Ken Graham said the storm is expected to linger over North and South Carolina – where one million people have been told to evacuate – once it reaches shore.
People well inland have been warned they could lose power and face flooding.
Mr Graham said: “It’s not just the coast. When you stall a system like this and it moves real slow, some of that rainfall can extend well away from the centre.”Half a dozen nuclear power plants could find themselves in the path of the storm, as could pits holding industrial waste.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has declared a state of emergency and said officials were “preparing for the potential of historic, catastrophic and life-threatening flooding”.
The mayor of Richmond in Virginia, Levat Stoney, has also declared a state of emergency and has urged residents to gather non-perishable food, water, torches, and batteries.
As for fuel, one gas station owner in Wilmington, North Carolina, told the Reuters news agency she had seen triple the usual number of customers as locals are “getting frantic” over the potential impact of the storm.

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