Time almost up: Fierce Hurricane Florence aims at Southeast - Story | WFLD

Time almost up: Fierce Hurricane Florence aims at Southeast - Story | WFLD

As of 8 a.m., the hurricane is predicted to make landfall along the coast of the Carolinas tomorrow (Sept. 14), according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Hurricane Center.

UPDATE 5 p.m.: Hurricane Florence's forward speed has slowed to 5 miles per hour as it approaches the Carolinas as a Category 2 hurricane with 105 miles per hour winds.

Police patrol past boarded up shops along the boardwalk in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina ahead of Hurricane Florence's arrival. Hurricane-force winds were blowing 130 km from its centre, and tropical-storm-force winds reached up to 315km from the eye.

An outsized Hurricane Florence early on Thursday crept closer to the U.S. East Coast, packing tropical storm-force winds across hundreds of miles that threaten the region with potentially catastrophic flooding and torrential rain.

Authorities are warning US coastal residents in the path of Hurricane Florence to evacuate now or be at the mercy of the Category 3 storm, which is expected to slow upon hitting the coast of the Carolinas on Thursday and ravage the region with storm surge, rainfall, and flooding. "The larger and the slower the storm is, the greater the threat and the impact - and we have that".

Interested in Hurricane Florence?

Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters said Florence eventually could strike as a Category 1 with winds less than 160 kmh, but that's still enough to cause at least US$1 billion in damage. Parts of North Carolina may see as much as 40 inches of rain and storm surges could be as high as 13 feet. "Don't play games with it".

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In Awendaw, South Carolina, Chris Johnson said he's staying behind to watch his house while his wife, Michele, is evacuating.

Its unclear exactly how many people fled, but more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out. Airlines cancelled almost 1000 flights and counting. But he expected to be able to ride the storm out. The two hardware chains said they sent in a total of around 1,100 trucks. High Surf Advisory for all beaches today.

Duke Energy, the nations No. 2 power company, said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks.

"I've never seen the president and all these other people talk the way they're talking", he said while waiting for an evacuation bus.

It is forecast to bring 20-40in (50-100cm) of rain and life-threatening storm surges of up to 13ft.

"In 12 or 18 hours, they may be saying different things all over again", he said.

Florence was seen as a major test for FEMA, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared a year ago for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, which was blamed for almost 3,000 deaths.

More news: Trump Rejects Hurricane Maria Death Toll, Says ‘3,000 People Did Not Die’

Coastal towns in the Carolinas were largely empty, and schools and businesses closed as far south as Georgia.

The police chief of a barrier island in Florence's bulls'-eye said he was asking for next-of-kin contact information from the few residents who refused to leave. Add Hurricane Florence as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Hurricane Florence news, video, and analysis from ABC News.

When will Hurricane Florence hit Charlotte? Unsure of what they might find when they return home, the couple went shopping for a recreational vehicle.

"Were just trying to plan for the future here, not having a house for an extended period of time", David Garrigus said. If we get moisture from Florence, it would be until Tuesday night/Wednesday. Three other Southern raceways also opened campgrounds to evacuees.

Florence's weakening as it neared the coast created tension between some who left home and authorities who anxious that the storm could still be deadly.

The National Hurricane Center, as well as many computer models, predict the storm will hang around the Carolinas for three full days, causing flooding issues.

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