Full coverage: Tropical Storm Florence

James Marshall
September 22, 2018

The outer bands of wind and rain from a weakened but still deadly Hurricane Florence began lashing North Carolina on Thursday as the monster storm moved in for an extended stay along the Southeastern coast, promising to drench the homes of as many as 10 million people with enormous amounts of rain.

More than 320,000 power outages were reported across North Carolina and almost 4,400 in SC.

"There is still time to leave", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told CBS This Morning on Thursday.

"It's going to bring a significant storm surge inland and a significant amount of rain". In New Bern, on the Neuse River, a CNN team had to keep shifting position in a park as the water kept rising until it was too risky to stay in the area.

Meanwhile, the city of Jacksonville, N.C., says about 70 people have been rescued from a hotel whose structural integrity was threatened by the hurricane, according to The Associated Press.

Florence is expected to go move slowly as it approaches North and SC, whipping hurricane-force winds and dumping relentless rain at least through Saturday.

Duke Energy, a power company in the Carolinas, estimated that one million to three million customers could lose electricity because of the storm and that it could take weeks to restore. Water kills more people in hurricanes than wind, and the rain and storm surge will make Florence extremely unsafe.

The storm was about 235 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina and was moving at about 17 mph on Thursday morning. He added later, "Most of the fatalities in these tropical systems is water". It just does not matter that this storm has some because the wind field has expanded. Hurricane Helene and Subtropical Storm Joyce were off in the Atlantic, posing no threat.

"We live in a house that's more than 100 years old", she said. "And that will produce a lot of damage as well as prolong the beach erosion". Florence is forecast to remain a Category 2 hurricane at landfall before losing strength over land. Officials are urging others in its path to follow suit or to prepare for the worst.

Florence's top sustained wind speeds dropped from a high of 140 miles per hour (225 kph) to 110 miles per hour (175 kph) early Thursday. "In light of the storm's forecasted southward track after making landfall, I encourage Georgians to be prepared for the inland effects of the storm as well as the ensuing storm surge in coastal areas".

"It truly is really about the whole size of this storm", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said.

Farther south, in Carolina Beach, the northern end of the town was being swamped as water crashed over the dunes. Virginia has also issued evacuation orders. The shopping list for people who have made a decision to ride out the storm at home: plywood to board up their windows, sandbags, bilge pumps, generators, trash bags, potato chips, bottled water and wine. "There is overwash but nothing we are not used to", she said.

Browning's choice to stay in the hurricane warning zone wasn't easy, she said, but she "could not find anywhere to go". That number is expected to grow due to flooding.

"This evolution will produce storm surges similar to that of a more intense, but smaller, hurricane, and thus the storm surge values seen in the previous advisory are still valid". A surge of at least 4 feet is predicted for a much larger area.

More than a million people are expected to evacuate as hurricane Florence gets closer to the east coast.

More than 10 million people are under a storm watch or warning in Virginia and the Carolinas, where up to 40 inches of rain could fall.

-Rainfall: parts of the Carolinas could see 20 inches to 30 inches, with isolated areas getting 40 inches over seven days along the coast.

In addition to the hurricane's obvious risks, the National Weather Service says, "A few tornadoes are possible in eastern North Carolina through Friday".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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