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CHARLESTON (CBSMiami) – Hurricane Florence is barreling toward the East Coast, taking aim at the vulnerable shoreline between the Carolinas and the mid-Atlantic with a possible landfall by Thursday.

Rough surf from Florence has already been blamed for one death and two injuries in Florida.

The Category 4 hurricane is expected to slow down and drop more than a foot of rain once it hits land.

“They’re in the midst of their wettest summer ever and now you’re gonna put in certain areas 15 inches of rain on top of that, maybe 30 inches in some localized areas, there could very well be some catastrophic flooding with this system,” said meteorologist Lonnie Quinn.

Florence will be the first major hurricane to hit North Carolina head-on since “Fran” in 1996. That storm caused $8 billion in damage and claimed 37 lives.

“I was here in Raleigh during Fran and we were without power for two weeks. I vowed never to live through that again,” said David Hall who was out shopping for a generator.

South Carolina residents are getting sandbags ready to protect their homes against flooding.

“We’ve been getting a lot of rain recently, the ground is wet so not going to absorb it, so, it’s going to sit up top, pile up and eventually make its way towards the apartment,” said Ben Dehaven, a resident of Charleston, South Carolina.

Stores shelves in the Carolina region are quickly being emptied of supplies. Residents also stocked up on plywood and took their boats out of the water.

“We still have a couple of days to get ready, so let’s use that time,” said North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper.

North Carolina has only been hit by one category four hurricane since records were started more than 150 years ago. Gov. Cooper has declared a state of emergency and Hatteras Island is under mandatory evacuation orders.

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