A federal state of emergency has been declared in the states of Florida and Georgia, where three million people have left their homes because of Hurricane Floyd. It is the United States' biggest ever compulsory evacuation. The hurricane is estimated to be moving at 14 miles an hour. It is now predicted that winds of up to 130 miles an hour will hit the mainland around North Carolina. Hurricane Floyd has weakened, but North and South Carolina are most at risk - and storm alerts have been issued almost as far as New York.

Hurricane Floyd has caused serious damage in the Bahamas as it continues its approach towards the southeastern coast of the United States. But there have been no immediate reports of casualties. Forecasters expect the hurricane to run parallel to the Florida coast and make a landfall in North or South Carolina within the next 24 hours. When it does it will still be a ‘Category 4’ storm.

Hurricane warnings have been lifted in the Miami region and Floyd is expected to stay some distance off Florida’s Atlantic coastline. However, the storm could pass close enough to bring hurricane-force winds to central Florida. There are fears of serious damage at the Kennedy Space Centre, and Disneyworld was forced to shut down for the first time in its 26-year history.