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More than 1.5 m US East Coast residents relocated as Hurricane Florence approaches

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-09-12 07:04
Police officers are seen keeping an eye on traffic at an onramp to Interstate 26 ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence near Orangeburg, South Carolina, US, Sept 11, 2018. [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON — More than 1.5 million residents along the US East Coast are under mandatory evacuations as Category 4 Hurricane Florence is approaching, the authorities said Tuesday.

Hurricane Florence, seen as the strongest storm to take aim at the region in decades, is "a very dangerous storm" expectedly to hit the East Coast, Jeffrey Byard, the associate administrator for response and recovery with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), said at a news conference.

"There is currently nothing that's projected to slow the storm down, to weaken the storm," said Byard. "We are planning for a hard impact of a Category 4 storm."

Washington D.C. on Tuesday declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm, joining South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland. West Virginia has declared a state of preparedness.

"Hurricane Florence will lash the Carolinas and Virginia late Thursday as an intense hurricane with life-threatening storm surge, destructive winds and potentially catastrophic inland rainfall flooding in one of the strongest strikes on record for this part of the East Coast," US meteorologists warned Tuesday.

"If you're in the East Coast threat zone, it's time to finish up your hurricane preparedness plan and be ready to implement, if necessary. Residents in coastal areas should follow evacuation orders from local officials because of the potential for life-threatening storm-surge flooding," they urged via the US Weather channel.

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