Hurricane Florence evacuees snarl travel

Amtrak is canceling service south of Washington ahead of Hurricane Florence

Despite the storm being still some distance away from land, the National Hurricane Center has confirmed it is on track to hit the area around North and SC by Friday.

"Re-strengthening is forecast to occur during the next day or so, and Florence is expected to be an extremely risky major hurricane through Thursday night", said the National Hurricane Center in its latest update. North Carolina and Virginia yesterday declared states of emergency, while Virginia's governor ordered a mandatory evacuation for some residents of low-lying coastal areas. The hurricane is expected to approach the coast of the Carolinas on Thursday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

A third Atlantic storm, Hurricane Helene, is not expected to impact any land in the coming days as it moves north over open water. Combined with high tides, the storm surge could swell as high as 12 feet. Anyone wanting to stay should prepare for strong winds, a deep storm surge, and rainfall lasting between 24-36 hours.

The storm itself, however, is not expected to make landfall until Thursday evening at the earliest, according to the latest forecast path from the NHC.

It is now moving west-northwest at about 15 miles per hour and that speed is expected to increase in the next few days, says the center. Florence is maintaining its strength and Hurricane and Storm Surge Watches will likely be issued on Tuesday.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 40 miles and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 150 miles from the center.

Mandatory coastal evacuations were in effect for civilians in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, but the military base posted on Facebook that different chains-of-command would decide whether to release non-essential personnel, and some relatives vented fears that they wouldn't be able to evacuate in time. Other counties are evacuating low lying and flood prone areas.

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Streams of cars clogged roads leading away from the coast of North and SC on Tuesday as residents began fleeing ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence, a powerful Category 4 storm barreling towards the eastern USA states. The National Hurricane Center says such massive rainfall could produce "catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding".

Hurricane Florence's size is "staggering", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham warned.

We here in North Carolina are bracing for a hard hit.

"As I tweeted with Harvey last year.it is important to understand the potential one-two punch from Hurricane Florence", University of Georgia meteorologist Marshall Shepherd said.

Fox News' Todd Piro on preparations ahead of Hurricane Florence reaching the East Coast.

So far, American Airlines flights have not been canceled due to the storm, but it is bracing for the worst and letting travelers potentially affected by the storm change their travel dates without paying change fees, normally around $200 plus a difference in fare, as per CNBC.

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