The Southeastern United States is bracing for Hurricane Florence.
The hurricane’s center is expected to affect Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday, and to hit North Carolina on Thursday, USA Today reported.
On Monday, the storm was upgraded to a Category 3 hurricane with 115 mph winds by the National Hurricane Center. Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for two counties, Dare and Hatteras, in North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
The coast could receive water as high as 15 feet, and inland areas could see up to 20 inches of rainfall, according to CNN’s Chad Myers.
“This is [a] very scary rain event potentially setting up this week,” meteorologist Brett Rossi told USA Today. “Florence could dump a foot of rain in places that cannot handle it, making for a very scary flooding situation in some areas.”
South Carolina officials said they were “preparing for the possibility of a large-scale disaster,” according to USA Today.
“It is coming straight in,” South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said on Sunday, The New York Times reported. “We are prepared to the nth degree. We’ll know more tomorrow, but based on what we know now, the situation is such that it is time to begin preparations.”
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The National Hurricane Center warned on Monday of “life-threatening impacts” from the storm. The Center wrote that, though “it is too soon to determine exact timing, location, and magnitude of these impacts,” residents from South Carolina to the mid-Atlantic area should be cautious of “storm surge at the coast, freshwater flooding from a prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall event inland, and damaging hurricane-force winds.”