Myrtle Beach's Ocean Boulevard was practically empty at midday on Wednesday, September 12, as the SC town prepared for the arrival of Hurricane Florence.
Forecasters say Florence, the first major hurricane to take direct aim at the USA mainland this year, could batter coastal areas with whipping winds, torrential rain and storm surges as high as 9 feet.
Usually when a storm approaches the coast, forecasters can tell with ever-increasing accuracy who will get walloped.
Hurricane Florence is closing in on the East Coast, ready to deliver what the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is calling "a Mike Tyson punch" starting in about 24 hours.
Executives in North and South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia declared emergencies earlier in the week.
NOAA also released another video shot from Kermit, giving a more prolonged look at the eye of the storm.
"Little change in strength is expected before the center reaches the coast, with weakening expected after the center moves inland", the National Hurricane Center said.
The National Hurricane Center's best guess was that Florence would blow ashore as early as Friday afternoon around the North Carolina-South Carolina line, then push its rainy way westward with a potential for catastrophic inland flooding.
The governors of both states, North and SC, issued mandatory evacuations of coastal areas Monday (Sept. 10), according to CNN.
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People fleeing coastal North and SC clogged highways as Florence bore down for a direct hit in the low-lying region dense with beachfront vacation homes. These could be as high as 13ft (4m) along parts of the North Carolina coast. The storm is moving northwest at 17 miles per hour (27 kph).
"If I need to evacuate I can go to my son's house", Sparks said as he carted a load of water bottles to his vehicle.
And some 10 million people are now under some form of storm watch or warning as the hurricane nears the coast.
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Devastating flooding appears likely for southeastern North Carolina.
In Virginia, 245,000 coastal residents were ordered to evacuate, including from the Eastern Shore.
Nathan Deal issued an emergency declaration for the entire state to ease regulations on trucks hauling gasoline and relief supplies.
In South Carolina, traffic along parts of Interstate 26 and U.S. 501 has been directed away from the coast.
It was estimated that Harvey dropped the equivalent of 19 to 21 trillion gallons of water in the greater Houston area, or, as The Washington Post reported a year ago, enough water to fill Utah's Great Salt Lake four times.
NASA NASA / Reuters A view of Hurricane Florence is shown churning in the Atlantic Ocean in a west, north-westerly direction heading for the eastern coastline of the United States, taken by cameras outside the International Space Station, September 12, 2018.