Airlines begin canceling flights at RDU as Hurricane Florence nears the Carolinas

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Enlarge This water vapor image from Wednesday morning shows the enormous pool of moisture that Florence is transporting to the US East

The storm could cause a life-threatening storm surge, essentially walls of water, ahead of landfall which is why FEMA warns that Wednesday is the last feasible day to evacuate areas vulnerable to the storm.

The threat has sparked a rush of evacuation efforts in SC and North Carolina, with more than a million people urged to get out of Florence's way.

They passed right by Dolly Whittington's house, but she said she's not leaving. The storm will bring dangerously high amounts of rain, forecasters say.

Time is running short to get out of the way of Hurricane Florence, a monster of a storm that has a region of more than 10 million people in its potentially devastating sights as it zeroes in on the southeastern coast of the U.S.

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The News & Observer reports that the storm's path shifted early Wednesday and it is now bearing down on southern North Carolina and northern SC, where it could dump up to 40 inches of rain in places. All interests from SC into the mid-Atlantic region should complete preparations and follow any advice given by local officials.

"This will likely be the storm of a lifetime for portions of the Carolina coast", the National Weather Service in Wilmington, N.C., said, "and that's saying a lot given the impacts we've seen from hurricanes Diana, Hugo, Fran, Bonnie, Floyd, and Matthew".

He said electric power could be out for weeks. One-hundred residents and 183 employees - along with family members - planned to hunker down at the seven-year-old Trinity Grove nursing home in Wilmington. "It's going to happen".

Officials in New Hanover County, which includes Wilmington, have stockpiled enough food and water for 60,000 people for four days, along with more than 28,000 tarpaulins. Over 1.5 million people are under evacuation orders.

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It has Hanover County Commissioner Woody White very anxious. Livestock, including the hogs that make up the state's massive pork industry, have been moved to higher ground and some animals have "gone into the market to lessen the probability of them being in harm's way", said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.

"A lot of our storefronts are boarded up", said Lynn Davis, town manager for Belhaven which sits at sea level in northeastern North Carolina.

"Trucks, planes and people are ready to help if needed", Clark said, adding that the company is working with the Red Cross and others.

On its current track, Florence is expected to hit the Carolinas and Virginia the hardest, the NHC said.

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Watches in effect Tuesday forecast a storm surge of up to 12 feet at high tide from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout in North Carolina . Other impacts, like potential rain, depend upon what Florence does after it makes landfall, the meteorologist said .

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