Hurricane Florence: North Carolina residents urged to leave

Hurricane Florence: North Carolina residents urged to leave

Hurricane Florence: North Carolina residents urged to leave

However, a Cat 2 storm's wind speed is "extremely unsafe", according to the National Hurricane Center, capable of ripping trees from the ground, wreaking major roof damage on homes and causing power outages that may last weeks and affect three million households. Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles from its centre, and tropical storm force winds up to 195 miles.

It was forecast to make landfall mid-day Friday near Cape Fear, North Carolina, bringing up to 40 inches (1 metre) of rain, and storm surges as high as 13 feet (4 meters), the NHC said.

On Wednesday, McMaster, along with the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, Department of Natural resources and others stressed the potential dangers that Hurricane Florence could bring as it makes its way to the Carolinas, drawing similarities to Hurricane Hugo. "I am frightened about what's coming". We will start to see Florence slow down a bit as the day progresses.

The forecast calls for as much as 102cm of rain over seven days along the coast, with the deluge continuing even as the centre of the storm pushes its way over the Appalachian Mountains.

FEMA and the National Weather Service also urged residents along the coast to evacuate. Tropical Storm Olivia has made landfall in the Hawaiian islands, the Philippines are bracing for the powerful typhoon Mangkhut, and Tropical Storm Isaac is nearing the Leeward Islands.

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"The Governor of Carolina expressed what many people have, which is hope for the best and prepare for the worst".

Roads and intersections on North Carolina's Outer Banks barrier islands were already inundated with water.

Previously classified as a Category 4 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane strength, Florence is so far the most severe storm to threaten the U.S. mainland this year and the first of its magnitude to target the Carolinas since 1989 when Hurricane Hugo barreled over Charleston, South Carolina.

Florence's winds weakened as it drew closer to land, dropping from a peak of 225km/h earlier in the week, and the hurricane was downgraded from a terrifying Category 4 to a 2. The New York Times reported that Duke Energy, the Carolinas' major power supplier, said as many as 3 million people could lose power.

Officials in New Bern, which dates to the early 18th century, said more than 100 people were rescued from floods and the downtown was under water by Friday afternoon. A turn to the west-northwest and west at an even slower forward speed is expected tonight and Friday, and a slow west-southwestward motion is forecast Friday night and Saturday.

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A state of emergency has been declared North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland and residents race to evacuate areas at high risk of devastation.

Elder relatives carry as much weight as meteorologists in a tight-knit community of slave descendants on the SC coast.

Eudy said his family stayed in their home partly to protect their house. It had long lines on Thursday.

"We are ready, but this is going to be one of the biggest ones to ever hit our country", said the president.

The Frying Pan Shoals Light Tower, an old Coast Guard tower 32 miles off the coast of southeastern North Carolina, is broadcasting live with a solar-powered camera.

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"The anxiety level has dropped substantially", Epperson said.

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