U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday said the federal government would spare no expense in responding to the likely damage from Hurricane Florence, which is forecast to hit the Carolina coast later this week.
Hurricane Florence, on track to become the first Category 4 storm to make a direct hit on North Carolina in six decades, howled closer to shore on Tuesday, threatening to unleash deadly pounding surf, days of torrential rain and severe flooding.
Florence could hit the Carolinas harder than any hurricane since Hazel packed 130 miles per hour (209 kph) winds in 1954. The storm was moving northwest at 17mph (28km/h), and was showing signs of strengthening, with category 4 winds of 130mph (215km/h).
North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland governors have declared states of emergency.
"It's one of those situations where you're going to get heavy rain, catastrophic, life-threatening storm surge, and also the winds". "Florence has rapidly intensified into an extremely unsafe hurricane", Blake wrote Monday evening, predicting that the hurricane's top sustained winds would approach the 157 miles per hour (253 kph) threshold for a wost-case Category 5 scenario.
A million people have been ordered to leave the US coast and millions more prepared for Florence's predicted arrival on late Thursday or early Friday. As much as 10 to 20 inches (250-500mm) of rain is forecast from the Carolinas into Virginia as the storm stalls inland. All three states ordered mass evacuations along the coast.
The slow-moving storm was about 905 miles (1,455 km) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT), according to the NHC, which warned the storm was expected to strengthen with life-threatening storm surge possible along the coasts of North and SC. "It is likely some areas will flood that have never flooded before". But even the most secure homes could be surrounded by water, or penetrated by wind-launched debris.More news: Wind approaches outer banks of North Carolina
The NWS expects Florence to make landfall as a major hurricane sometime late Thursday night or early Friday morning. East Carolina officials say they had decided the team wouldn't travel to Blacksburg due to "significant imminent safety concerns", including "perilous travel conditions before, during and after the storm".
Bloomberg reported September 11 that due to Hurricane Florence's threat to the hog-heavy Carolina region October hog futures jumped as much as 2.9 percent on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Monday.
Trump faced severe criticism for his administration's response to Hurricane Maria previous year in Puerto Rico. Florence's storm surge threatens more than 750,000 homes in the region, according to the property analytics firm CoreLogic.
Days before its arrival, Florence was already disrupting commercial operations. This includes cities in the path of Florence such as Wilmington and Cape Hatteras in North Carolina and Norfolk, Virginia. She said her house, built in 2009 in Buxton, North Carolina, is on a ridge and built to withstand a hurricane.
"Prolonged and exceptionally heavy" rains will also inundate parts of the coast and inland areas, the National Hurricane Center said. Some isolated areas could get 30 inches, forecasters said. "Any amounts of money, whatever it takes, we're going to do it".
Mr Graham warned that the "staggering" size of the storm means its impacts will be felt far and wide.