WILMINGTON, N.C. — The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Tuesday issued a statement warning those living within the path of Hurricane Florence to “take action now” as the storm makes its way toward the southeastern U.S.
“We cannot emphasize the importance to take action now,” FEMA Associate Administrator Jeff Byard said, adding that the storm “has the potential to cause loss of life.”
Weather forecasters and government officials also warned residents of coastal areas to take the threat seriously and authorities in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia on Tuesday ordered mass evacuations along the coast.
“This storm is a monster. It’s big and it’s vicious. It is an extremely, dangerous, life-threatening, historic hurricane,” said North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper.
“The waves and the wind this storm may bring is nothing like you’ve ever seen,” Cooper added. “Even if you’ve ridden out storms before, this one is different. Don’t bet your life on riding out a monster.”
President Donald Trump on Tuesday also warned Americans in the path of the storm to be cautious.
“Was just briefed via phone by @DHSgov @SecNielsen and @FEMA @FEMA_Brock, along with @VP Mike Pence and Chief of Staff, John Kelly on incoming storm which is very dangerous,” the president tweeted. “Heed the directions of your State and Local Officials – and know that WE are here for you. Be SAFE!”
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said during a press conference on Tuesday that the Palmetto State “must be vigilant” in preparing for such an “unpredictable” storm.
“We are in a very deadly and important game of chess with Hurricane Florence,” he said.
According to the National Weather Service, some models are predicting as much as 30-40 inches of rain in some areas due to storm surges and heavy rain.
President Trump said Tuesday that despite the unnerving predictions, the federal government is “absolutely, totally prepared” for Florence’s arrival.
The storm is currently classified as a category 4 hurricane.