‘Life-threatening’ Hurricane Florence closes in on US east coast

‘You can’t stop Mother Nature’

In Wilmington, Solange Iliou Thompson closed down her restaurant, Indochine, because all of her employees had left the city.

“All my staff are gone,” Thompson said. “There’s nobody left to work.

“But I’m staying,” she said. “The building’s solid and Buddha will protect us.”

“What can you do?” she asked. “You can’t stop Mother Nature.”

In a trailer park outside Wilmington, Alondra Espinoza was preparing to leave with her two young children.

“Everything is packed,” Espinoza said. “I want to get them as far away as possible.

“I’ve been through hurricanes before but never with kids,” she said. “If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have minded staying here.”

South Carolina ordered the mandatory evacuation of one-million coastal residents while North Carolina ordered an evacuation of the Outer Banks, barrier islands that are a popular tourist destination.

In Virginia, 245,000 coastal residents were ordered to evacuate.

Florence is being trailed in the Atlantic by two other storms – Hurricane Helene and Tropical Storm Isaac.

Helene was weakening, however, and posed no danger to land, the NHC said, while Isaac could bring heavy rain to Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe.

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