More articles “It’s a disaster of the first order, it’s devastating,” said John Condon, a spokesman for the National Weather Service in Florida, which has been battling the storm.
“The people that are in the evacuation centers will never know the true extent of the devastation.”
The storm was expected to move eastward toward the eastern tip of Florida by Wednesday morning, and the National Hurricane Center said it was likely to dump as much as a foot of rain in the Miami area.
The storm’s death toll is likely to be as high as 40,000, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The National Weather Center said the storm would make landfall near the Florida Keys, and a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter was preparing to ferry people and supplies to Florida.
“People need to be prepared,” Condon said.
“Make sure you have all your water and food.
Be aware of what’s around you.”
Hurricane Florence is forecast to bring heavy rain, wind and flooding to Florida, according the National Forecast Center.
Rick Scott announced Monday that residents who live in evacuation areas are not to return to their homes until Wednesday, citing safety concerns.
In a statement, Scott said that the state will work with the U.N. to “help ensure a safe, orderly evacuation.”
Florida officials had been planning to evacuate residents who were in areas that are considered at risk from the storm and were under mandatory evacuation orders from President Donald Trump.
The state’s evacuation plan called for residents to leave the evacuation zones in Palm Beach County, which covers the county’s southern tip.
The evacuation order also applies to the southern part of Lake Okeechobee and the Miami-Dade County area, which includes the Florida Everglades.
Officials in other coastal areas of Florida said they were also planning to take precautions, but did not say if those measures included leaving their homes.
The U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, whose country has been hit by a string of deadly terrorist attacks, told the House of Commons Monday that the country is in “a state of emergency” and that the prime minister would make emergency decisions “very quickly” on Tuesday.
The prime minister, who is visiting Britain, said that a “number of people are in great need.”
May said she was “absolutely certain” that the British government would use its emergency powers to “make sure that the people of this country are protected and that we are able to get through this,” according to a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office.
“I want to assure the British people that the emergency authorities have been mobilised to help.”
A U.B.C. weather service spokesman said Monday that Florence had intensified and was moving northward in a fast moving east-west pattern.
“There’s no doubt that Florence will bring rain, particularly in parts of the central and eastern parts of Florida and parts of South Florida, where the rainfall is forecast for as high an amount as 20 to 40 inches,” said Brian Smith, spokesman for British Meteorological Service.
The Weather Service said in a statement that “flooding is likely” in parts in the state’s south and eastern coast.
The weather service said Florence will continue to produce rain and gusty winds in the southern tip of the state.
Residents in the northern part of the Florida Panhandle were being urged to leave homes early Monday, and all schools in the area were being shut down.
Some schools in parts outside the Panhandle are closed due to the threat of flooding, according an official from the Florida Emergency Management Agency.
The American Red Cross said it is also urging people to evacuate to higher ground, especially those living in higher-density areas and those with pets, and to avoid public transportation.
The Red Cross has also urged people to wear a face mask and keep their pets inside their vehicles.
The agency urged people in flood-prone areas to seek shelter indoors or in a basement or basement apartment.
Weather experts said that in most cases, a lot of the flooding will be localized and that it will be a few days before much of the damage is visible.
It is still too early to know the extent of damage, said Scott.
“It is still a very complex and dangerous situation,” he said.
The first major storm to hit the U to hit Florida in more than 50 years was Hurricane Bill, which made landfall on the Florida coast in February 1878.
The current storm is the most powerful storm to strike Florida in at least 100 years, the Weather Service says.