This prompted evacuation orders for more than 1 million people on the southern East Coast of the United States, in areas of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Officials warned not to underestimate the threat the storm poses. The wind field is expected to keep growing, which will increase the storm surge and inland wind threats, the National Hurricane Center warned in a statement. Sustained winds of at least 130 mph make expectations of catastrophic damage.
President Donald Trump declared an emergency in North Carolina, allowing it to access federal funds. Certain areas of Brunswick, Currituck, Dare, Hyde, New Hanover, and Onslow counties are affected, and more orders are expected Tuesday. State government offices, including schools and medical facilities, will be closed in 26 counties. Grocery stores began selling out of water, milk and bread, and supply stores were struggling to stock batteries, plywood and generators as early as Sunday. Many of them ran out of merchandise. Two other storms also are churning in the Atlantic. But Hurricanes Helene and Isaac are not expected to hit the US mainland.