Hurricane Florence strengthens as 1 million people are told to flee US East Coast

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Hurricane Florence has potential to cause “massive damage” to parts of the southeastern and mid-Atlantic United States — and not just in the coastal areas where the storm aims to make landfall Thursday night, officials warned.

More than 1 million people face mandatory evacuation orders Tuesday in coastal areas of Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, as one of the strongest hurricanes to churn toward the eastern seaboard in decades — a Category 4 storm that may approach Category 5 strength — nears shore.

The National Weather Service said Hurricane Florence will bring life-threatening storm surge and rainfall to parts of the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic states.
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Tropical-storm-force winds are due to reach the coasts of North and South Carolina on Thursday morning, and hurricane-force winds may be felt around Thursday night, ahead of an anticipated Friday morning landfall.

Trump: Everyone in the path of Hurricane Florence should ‘get out’

President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he anticipates that Hurricane Florence will be one of the worst storms in decades and said everybody should “get out” if they are in the path of the storm.

The president also defended his administration’s response last year to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria on the island of Puerto Rico, calling it “incredibly successful.”

“Puerto Rico was actually our toughest one of all, because it’s an island, so you can’t truck things onto it, everything’s by boat,” Trump told reporters. “It was one of the best jobs that’s ever been done.”

Nearly 3,000 people are believed to have died on Puerto Rico as a result of the damage caused by Maria. Trump also noted on Tuesday that Puerto Rico is potentially in the path of another upcoming storm, Hurricane Isaac.

Speaking of the government’s preparations for Florence, Trump said his administration is “sparing no expense. We are ready. We are as ready as anyone as ever been.” He added: “This is going to be a very large one … It’s tremendously big and tremendously wet. Tremendous amounts of water.”

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