The outer bands of wind and rain from Hurricane Florence began lashing North Carolina on Thursday (Friday NZ Time) as the monster storm moved in for an extended stay along the Southeastern coast, promising to drench the properties of 10 million people with enormous amounts of water. On the forecast track, the center of Florence will approach the coasts of North and SC later today, then move near or over the coast of southern North Carolina and northeastern SC in the hurricane warning area tonight and Friday.
In all, an estimated 10 million people live in areas expected to be placed under a hurricane or storm advisory, according to the U.S. Weather Prediction Center. "While we expect an AccuWeather Local StormMax of 40 inches of rain, extensive inland flooding and storm surge flooding from Florence, Hurricane Harvey unleashed more than 60 inches of rain locally centered around the United States' fourth largest city, Houston, which has a population of 2.3 million".
Hurricane Florence has now been downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane, with wind speeds at a destructive 110 miles per hour. The winds had been as high as 140 miles per hour earlier in the week.
With a storm surge warning in effect, the authorities urge people to prepare themselves for the disaster.
"But I'm staying", she said.
Ten miles (16 km) away in Wilmington, wind gusts were stirring up frothy white caps into the Cape Fear River.
"When you are looking at a storm surge of this magnitude, where the National Weather Service says that the damage is going to be unbelievable and that they can not emphasize that enough, we know that that is a message that we should listen to", said Cooper. "I am frightened about what's coming". "Gracious heavenly father God, just with those in the flood zone, may the damage not be so much", they prayed.
The storm is expected to bring a life-threatening storm surge and heavy rainfall to parts of the Carolinas with widespread flooding expected. She said a hurricane has a way of bringing everyone to the same level. "Stay on guard. This is a powerful storm that can kill".
"It's been really nice", Nicole Roland said. The main highway in the Outer Banks was closed in parts as seawater pushed in.
First death during Hurricane Florence confirmed in Pender County
More than 3,000 inmates at North Carolina prisons and juvenile detention centers were moved out of the storm's path. President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency on the federal level Tuesday for the Carolinas and Virginia.
Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a Reporter for Fox News.
"This is not going to be a glancing blow", Byard said, warning of power outages, road closures, infrastructure damage and potential loss of life.
"The magnitude of the storm is beyond what we have seen in years", said Howard Fowler, Duke Energy's incident commander, in a news release.
A ideal storm of unfortunate circumstances means Florence will likely be catastrophic for parts of the Southeast. Heavy rains were forecast to extend into the Appalachian mountains, affecting parts of Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.
The storm will be a test of President Donald Trump's administration less than two months before elections to determine control of Congress.
It's not just the rain totals Hurricane Florence drops on the Carolinas that could be "unprecedented", according to meteorologists.
"I ask all Georgians to join me in praying for the safety of our people and all those in the path of Hurricane Florence", Deal said. "When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths ..."
"The time to leave is running out, there will come a time when it will be too late and the rescue teams will not be able to come because they will also have to take refuge", warned South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster. Trump doubled down Thursday morning, arguing without evidence that Maria's death toll estimate in Puerto Rico is wrong and calling it a plot by Democrats to make him "look as bad as possible".
SC 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.