Florence isn't the only one. There are more hurricanes brewing

Hurricane Florence

Residents in eight counties along the coast - Jasper, Beaufort, Colleton, Charleston, Dorchester, Berkeley, Georgetown and Horry - must begin evacuating by noon Tuesday, McMaster said at a news briefing. While forecasters expect Florence to make landfall near Wilmington, North Carolina, the storm could bring heavy rains and flooding to the Historic Triangle. Maximum sustained winds are near 75 miles per hour.

Weather models have Florence striking the Carolina coast as a category 3 hurricane. It was not immediately clear how many people were being evacuated.

The storm's first effects were already apparent on barrier islands as risky rip currents hit beaches and seawater flowed over a state highway - the harbinger of a storm surge that could wipe out dunes and submerge entire communities.

While the military has moved 30 Navy ships based in Norfolk, Virginia, including the aircraft carriers USS George H.W. Bush and USS Abraham Lincoln, nearly 1,000 National Guard troops have been activated in North and SC to help with any possible hurricane-related problems.

The storm's potential path also includes half a dozen nuclear power plants, pits holding coal-ash and other industrial waste, and numerous pig farms that store animal waste in massive open-air lagoons.

U.S. airlines are allowing passengers to change their travel plans as Hurricane Florence threatens the east coast. The storm is forecast to strengthen even more.

Florence is "rapidly strengthening", with maximum sustained winds increasing to 170km/h, making it a category 2 storm, the second-weakest on the five-level Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale.

Holden Beach, North Carolina, was in the storm's path, according to forecasts on Monday.

Historically, 90 per cent of fatalities from hurricanes, tropical storms and tropical depressions have been caused by water, said NHC spokesman Dennis Feltgen said.

At that point the storm was centered about 1,170 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, the NHC said.

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In North Carolina The National Guard has already been activated.

Two other storms were spinning in the Atlantic.

If the hurricane makes landfall, this so-called brick wall will likely play the villain again; the brick wall is expected to weaken, meaning it won't help steer Florence out to sea.

Hurricane Helene is moving toward the west-northwest near 16 miles per hour.

Preparations intensified up and down the densely populated coast.

The governors of North and SC and Virginia declared states of emergency far ahead of the approaching storm.

Last year, Harvey made landfall north of Corpus Christi, Texas, then stalled over the Houston area, dropping as much as 5 feet of rain across the metro area.

Henry McMaster lifted the mandatory evacuation order for Beaufort, Jasper and Colleton counties Tuesday morning.

Beaufort County officials said they were prepared for the worst, including a mandatory evacuation and lane reversals.

St. Andrews University and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke are canceling classes and all activities as of 8 a.m. Wednesday.

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