Carolina coast battening down, boarding up as hurricane nears

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The News & Observer reports that the storm's path shifted early Wednesday and it is now bearing down on southern North Carolina and northern SC, where it could dump up to 40 inches of rain in places.

Updated NHC forecasts showed the storm lingering near the coast, bringing days of heavy rains that could bring intense inland flooding from SC, where some areas could see as much as one metre of rain, to Virginia.

As of Tuesday, about 1.7 million people in North and SC and Virginia were under warnings to evacuate the coast, and hurricane watches and warnings extended across an area with about 5.4 million residents. Florence is expected to remain a Category 4 storm when it makes landfall.

The hurricane center said Florence will approach the coast Thursday and Friday and linger for a while before rolling ashore.

"These are folks who made a decision to stay and ride out the storm for whatever reason, despite having a mandatory evacuation", she said.

He cited forecasts showing Florence was likely to stall over North Carolina, "bringing days and days of rain". It's estimated that 1 million people will be impacted by Florence's arrival. Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storm's aftermath, it said. But the change was probably temporary and didn't do anything to lessen the danger, said Jeff Byard, an administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Reacting to the possibility of a more southerly track, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal declared an emergency but did not immediately order any evacuations.

Lt. Col. Lindy White, an Oklahoma National Guard spokeswoman, said officials from East Coast states are expected to request additional assistance in the days to come.

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The U.S. Coast Guard closed ports in Wilmington and Morehead City in North Carolina and Hampton Roads, Virginia, to inbound vessels greater than 500 tons and was requiring vessels of that size to leave if they did not have permission to be in the ports.

"It's been really nice", Nicole Roland said.

Florence also blew down trees, including one that went through the roof of Kevin DiLoreto's home in Wilmington.

Helping with rescues there were members of the so-called Cajun Navy, a group of Louisiana-based volunteers who became famous during last year's Hurricane Harvey, locals said on Twitter. "You may need to move up to the second story, or to your attic, but WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU".

Florence is the most unsafe of three tropical systems in the Atlantic.

Trojniar said she and her husband were packing up belongings and planned to stack sandbags around their single-floor home in Wilmington's Landfall neighborhood near the ocean before checking into a hotel to ride out the storm. Tropical Storm Isaac was east of the Lesser Antilles and expected to pass south of Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and Cuba, while Hurricane Helene was moving northward away from land.

Melody Rawson evacuated her first-floor apartment in Myrtle Beach and arrived at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia, to camp for free with three other adults, her disabled son, two dogs and a pet bird.

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