Powerful Hurricane Florence was tracking towards the US East Coast Tuesday, prompting authorities to order upwards of one million people to evacuate the path of the extremely dangerous storm forecasters said could soon intensify.
Residents scrambled to flee en masse as the menacing Category 4 storm packing winds of 220 kilometers per hour bore down on the East Coast of the United States.
"This is one of the worst storms to hit the East Coast in many years," President Donald Trump warned on Twitter. "Please be prepared, be careful and be SAFE!"
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster ordered as many as one million residents of the state's eastern coast to leave their homes ahead of the storm's possible arrival on Thursday. Schools in 26 of the state's 46 counties were to close from Tuesday.
The governor of neighboring North Carolina ordered an evacuation of the Outer Banks, barrier islands that are a popular tourist destination, and parts of coastal Dare County, while a state of emergency was declared in Virginia.
"This is a very dangerous hurricane," McMaster said, adding that the evacuation order for coastal counties was "mandatory, not voluntary."
"We do not want to risk one South Carolina life in this hurricane," the governor told reporters. "We're liable to have a whole lot of flooding."