US East Coast braces for Hurricane Florence

US East Coast braces for Hurricane Florence

At least four people were killed.

Forecasters at the hurrican center warned that as much as 101 centimeters (40 inches) of rain could fall on some parts of North Carolina, with a storm surge of up to 4 meters (13 feet).

Tropical storm-force winds extended 175 miles from Florence's center, and hurricane-force winds reached out 70 miles.

More than 415,000 homes and businesses were without power on Friday morning, according to poweroutage.us which tracks the nation's electrical grid.

For 62 years, Robert Faircloth has lived in Wilmington, North Carolina.

"The fact is this storm is deadly and we know we are days away from an ending", Cooper said.

"It's going to be bad", said Woody White, chairman of the New Hanover County Commissioners.

Shaken after seeing waves crashing on the Neuse River just outside his house in New Bern, restaurant owner and hurricane veteran Tom Ballance wished he had evacuated.

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When will it make landfall?

"I've been through hurricanes before but never with kids", she said.

More than 10 million people are in the crosshairs of Hurricane Florence as storm force winds move within hours of battering the United States east coast. It came ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.

Even in downgrading Florence, which is expected to crash into the Carolinas late Thursday night or early Friday, the National Hurricane Center predicted "life-threatening storm surge", "catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding", and "damaging hurricane-force winds".

But it was clear that this was really about the water, not the wind. That happened past year when Hurricane Harvey dumped more than 150 centimeters (60 inches) of rain on the Houston, Texas, area.

Does it matter that Florence is moving slowly?

Hurricane Florence has already proven to be not just powerful and destructive but wildly unpredictable.

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. While inland areas may be spared the strongest winds, they could be vulnerable to flooding, especially if close to overflowing rivers.

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Preparing for the worst, about 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians were deployed with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats.

Portions of a boat dock and boardwalk are destroyed by powerful wind and waves as Hurricane Florence arrives September 13, 2018, in Atlantic Beach, N.C.

Authorities warned, too, of the threat of mudslides and the risk of an environmental disaster from floodwaters washing over industrial waste sites and hog farms. The hurricane center also adjusted its projected track, but kept it north of what most computer models were showing, to provide some continuity with past forecasts.

SC announced that Saturday's game against Marshall scheduled for Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia has been canceled due to the potential impact of Hurricane Florence. It could linger along the Atlantic Coast, dumping massive amounts of rain before drifting inland and bringing its heavy rainfall across the South and into the Mid-Atlantic states by early next week. That same area experienced unsafe flooding after Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

On Friday, coastal streets in the Carolinas flowed with frothy ocean water, and pieces of torn-apart buildings flew through the air.

A wind gust at the Wilmington airport was clocked at 105 miles per hour, the highest since Hurricane Helene in 1958. Airlines had canceled almost 1,000 flights and counting.

In Jacksonville, North Carolina, next to Camp Lejeune, firefighters and police fought wind and rain as they went door-to-door to pull dozens of people out of the Triangle Motor Inn after the structure began to crumble and the roof started to collapse.

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