Hurricane Florence: Carolinas brace for 'storm of lifetime'

Florence’s quiet potential disaster: Hog manure

Federal emergency management officials warned that Florence - while weakening slightly - remains a "very unsafe storm" capable of wreaking havoc along a wide swathe of the coast.

A buoy off the North Carolina coast recorded waves almost nine metres high as Florence churned toward shore.

According to Storyful, the video was shot at the Fish Heads Bar & Grill pier in Nags Head.

Steve Goldstein of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Florence's forward motion had slowed overnight and it was not expected to make landfall in the Carolinas until "some time Friday afternoon, Friday evening or Saturday morning".

The storm's outer bands have reached the Wilmington region, prompting flooding in coastal communities from the hurricane's high storm surges, which forecasters said would be up to 13 feet high. On an island like Puerto Rico, which has limited health care and other types of infrastructure, a hurricane's downstream effects can prove even more devastating than the initial surge.

The first thing you think of when you hear the term "hurricane" is high winds, but they invariably bring about flooding, and this is due to the storm surge.

Elsewhere, in the Appalachians and Mid-Atlantic states, Florence is expected to produce 3 to 6 inches of rain.

Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters said Florence eventually could strike as merely a Category 1 hurricane with winds less than 100 miles per hour (160 kph), but that's still enough to cause at least $1 billion in damage. It will then move along the "spine of the Appalachians". In some counties, almost 1 in 3 people live below the poverty line. Alexander Gerst/ESA/NASA via AP This image provided by NASA shows Hurricane Florence from the International Space Station on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018.

With South Carolina's beach towns more in the bull's-eye because of the shifting forecast, OH vacationers Chris and Nicole Roland put off their departure from North Myrtle Beach to get the maximum amount of time on the sand.

About 10 million people live in the path of the slow-moving storm and more than 1 million had been ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia, jamming westbound roads and highways for miles. Hurricane-force winds extended 130 kilometres from its centre, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 315 kilometres.

Over 1,400 flights have been cancelled, according to FlightAware.com, as most of the coastal region's airports are closed to ride out the storm. "Whether you have a house or not, when the storm comes it will bring everyone together".

As of 11 p.m., the storm was centered 280 miles (455 kilometers) east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and was moving northwest at 17 mph (28 kph).

"It doesn't matter where you are", he said. However, as the storm continues to track south, rainfall totals could increase.

"If you find yourself here [in rising floodwaters], you need to get out", she said. "The combination of a unsafe storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline".

He warned residents to be prepared for mass power outages that could last for days or weeks, echoing the sentiments shared by Duke Energy on Wednesday.

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