Military aircraft were moved inland and National Guardsmen activated as “monster” Hurricane Florence took aim at the southern East Coast amid warnings on Tuesday this storm may be “nothing like you’ve ever seen.”
Hours before, the Navy withstood super typhoon Mangkhut, which hit Guam and the Marshall Islands. Sailors were also bracing for tropical storm Olivia, expected to deliver a punch to Hawaii on Wednesday.
On the East Coast, troops leaving the Tidewater region joined a mass evacuation of more than 1 million people from the coasts of Virginia and the Carolinas ahead of Hurricane Florence.
Florence is expected to make landfall late Thursday or early Friday, with potentially more than two feet of rain expect to deluge areas along a swath of Eastern states.
Fort Bragg, North Carolina, is preparing to act as a staging area for relief supplies in the aftermath of Florence. An Army spokesman said meals, water and cots are being stockpiled at Fort Bragg as part of emergency relief efforts.
Florence is a Category 4 storm more than 800 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, and growing in strength with sustained winds near 130 miles per hour, the National Hurricane Center in Miami announced late Tuesday morning.
“This storm is a monster. It’s big and it’s vicious. It is an extremely, dangerous, life-threatening, historic hurricane,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said in an Associated Press report. “The waves and the wind this storm may bring is nothing like you’ve ever seen. Even if you’ve ridden out storms before, this one is different.”
Florence was expected to intensify to near Category 5, with winds of 157 mph or higher. It could be the worst hurricane to hit the Carolina coast since Hazel, a Category 4 storm in 1954 that killed 19 people in North Carolina.
Staff writers Tara Copp, Carl Prine and Kyle Rempfer contributed to this report. The Associated Press also contributed.