One million asked to evacuate as Hurricane Florence closes in

Amtrak is canceling service south of Washington ahead of Hurricane Florence

Greg Cook carries belongings to a van as he evacuates days before the arrival of Hurricane "Florence" at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, on September 11, 2018.

A tropical storm watch has been issued from north of the North Carolina-Virginia border to Cape Charles Light, Virginia, and for the Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort. "It is an extremely, dangerous, life-threatening, historic hurricane", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said in an Associated Press report.

Trump, who has faced criticism for his administration's response to Hurricane Maria in 2017, which killed an estimated 3,000 people in the US territory of Puerto Rico, knocked out power to all 3.4 million residents of the Caribbean island, with thousands still without power even six months after the storm hit, said the federal government was "totally prepared" for Florence.

He says storm surge could reach as high as 10 feet (3 meters) and estimates 1 million residents will be leaving the coast.

Trump has declared states of emergency for North and SC ahead of the Category 4 hurricane, which frees up help from federal agencies.

"Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 40 miles (65 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 150 miles (240 km)".

The US president said he had spoken with governors of the threatened states, adding that the "federal government stands by, ready to assist 24/7". "Don't bet your life on riding out a monster".

Hurricane Florence is predicted to be the size of the entire state of North Carolina when it makes landfall late Thursday night or early Friday morning.

People across the region rushed to buy bottled water and other supplies, board up their homes or get out of town.

Forecast models have said that several feet of heavy rain could cause flooding well inland from the coast. Between the two cities, about two hours apart, the traffic flowed smoothly in places and became gridlocked in others because of fender-benders.

"There's no water. There's no juices".

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It was located 845 miles (1,360 kms) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, and moving at 17 mph (29 kph) in a west-northwest direction.

"I'm prayed up and as ready as I can get", Steven Hendrick said as he filled up gasoline cans near Conway, South Carolina.

Federal officials begged residents to put together emergency kits and have a plan on where to go.

"This will be a storm that's going to be far larger than we have seen in perhaps decades", Trump said. It's going to destroy infrastructure.

The president was meeting with officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency later Tuesday.

The president also said the states affected could get "more water than we have ever seen in a storm or a hurricane".

"This is one of the worst storms to hit the East Coast in many years", US President Donald Trump warned on Twitter.

The hurricane could inundate low-lying islands off the coast of North Carolina, like the Outer Banks and other barrier islands, according to the NHC.

It is forecast to make landfall in the southeastern states of North or SC on Thursday.

On Monday, a mandatory evacuation order was issued for residents living along the entire 187-mile long SC coast. Typically, local governments in North Carolina make the call on evacuations.

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