More than 400k evacuate SC as Florence approaches

More than 400k evacuate SC as Florence approaches

More than 400k evacuate SC as Florence approaches

As Americans in North and SC begin to feel the effects of Hurricane Florence, The Weather Channel has reminded viewers of how risky storm surges can be.

The outer bands of wind and rain from a weakened but still lethal Hurricane Florence began lashing North Carolina as the monster storm moved in for a prolonged and potentially catastrophic drenching along the Southeast coast.

Almost 2 million coastal residents are now under mandatory evacuation orders, although it remains unclear how many have actually done so.

As winds and rain picked up during the day and conditions quickly deteriorated, thousands of people moved into emergency shelters to ride out what officials have called "the storm of a lifetime".

"It is scary. When somebody tells you something like that, it's my cue to get out".

"If you're going to leave. you should leave now because time is running out", McMaster said. Hurricane-force winds extended 130 kilometres from its centre, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 315 kilometres.

"We have quite literally surrounded the expected affected area with DOD capability that will be critical in hours and days following the storm's impact", said Air Force Gen. Terrence O'Shaughnessy, who heads U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

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The 400-mile wide storm is expected to start slamming the N.C. coast sometime Thursday night or early Friday, then weaken to a tropical storm as it drifts into SC, said John Quagliariello, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Columbia.

US President Donald Trump touted the government's readiness and urged people to get out of the way.

Florence, a Category 2 hurricane, has a wind speed of 105 miles per hour with gusts of 125 mph late Thursday afternoon.

Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storm's aftermath, the company said. Its surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 3.4 metres of ocean water, and days of downpours could unload more than 90 centimetres of rain, touching off severe flooding.

More than 80,000 people were already without power as the storm approached, and more than 12,000 were in shelters.

Associated Press story by Johanthan Drew.

About midday on Thursday (local time), Spanish moss blew sideways in the trees as the winds increased in Wilmington, and floating docks bounced atop swells at Morehead City.

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Residents are still recovering from Hurricane Matthew and communities with financial struggles are slow to rebuild after a major disaster.

Ken Graham, the director of the NHC, said: "It truly is really about the whole size of this storm".

Officials say Hurricane Florence could bring not only flooding but also landslides to SC.

In some counties, almost 1 in 3 people live below the poverty line.

The company said as many as three-fourths of its 4 million customers in North Carolina and SC could lose power.

"I built this house myself, so I'm not anxious at all, I know it's solid", he said. Life-threatening storm surge and rainfall are expected. "If I can't get back in a week, after a while they might turn on each other or trash the place".

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