Hurricane Florence begins to batter USA east coast

Florence Fayetteville When

National Hurricane Center

Highways clogged with people fleeing North and SC early Wednesday as monstrous Category 4 Hurricane Florence rumbled toward the eastern United States as the biggest storm there in decades.

Although it's been downgraded to a category two storm with 105mph winds, officials say there could be feet - rather than inches - of rain. Further inland, rain totals could reach 30 centimeters in the Carolinas, and up to 24 centimeters in the rest of the Carolinas and in southwestern Virginia.

The storm is expected to make landfall sometime late Thursday or on Friday, per CNN.

It was located 575 miles (925 kms) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, and moving at 17 mph (28 kph) in a west-northwest direction.

The storm has slowed considerably and was moving at 5 miles per hour toward the Port City.

A hurricane warning is in effect for a big chunk of the Carolina coast, from the South Santee River below Myrtle Beach, S.C., to Duck, N.C. - part of the Outer Banks.

Hurricane Florence is expected to hover over the Carolinas through Saturday night, dumping an insane amount of rain and wind on the area. "He is the only caregiver to me and my son", Browning said.

Experts agreed that despite Florence losing some power, it was still poised to sow just as much destruction - if not more.

The hurricane centre also said the threat of tornadoes was increasing as the storm neared shore.

"We are already experiencing heavily impacted traffic on some of the evacuation routes", said Jeff Byard, the associate administrator for response and recovery at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

What Hurricane Florence Could Do to Restaurants and Retailers
Forecasters warn that millions could be affected by the hurricane, and have urged mass evacuations of areas within its path. The image was captured by ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst, now living and working onboard the International Space Station.


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

"The worst of the storm is not yet here but these are early warnings of the days to come", he said.

The path of Hurricane Florence sees it going over some of the poorest areas on the eastern seaboard.

And don't be fooled by the fact that Florence has weakened slightly to a strong Category 2 hurricane.

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.

Florence is one of four named storms in the Atlantic. "Inland flooding kills a lot of people". Most of the damage during Hurricane Matthew in 2016 in North Carolina came from inland flooding - 31 people died and almost 100,000 homes were destroyed. "The larger and the slower the storm is, the greater the threat and the impact - and we have that".

Many forecasters are comparing the rainfall potential from Florence to Hurricane Harvey, which caused historic flooding in the Houston area.

Several residents fled the coast under both mandatory and voluntary evacuations.

New Hanover County officials said Thursday morning that it could accept more residents seeking shelter at Trask Middle School, Eaton Elementary School, Codington Elementary School, the Johnson Pre-K Center and Noble Middle School.

"Our sand dunes are healthy, but they're not going to be able to keep back a wall of water like that", he said.

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