Hurricane Florence: Four reasons to fear this storm

NASA remembers September 11th

Hurricane Florence's leading edge battered the Carolina coast Thursday (Friday NZT), bending trees and shooting frothy sea water over streets on the Outer Banks, as the hulking storm closed in with 155 kph winds for a drenching siege that could last all weekend. The agency is also warning people in the evacuation areas to leave stating that "This is not going to be a glancing blow". "Catastrophic effects will be felt".

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 storm surge forecast with this storm has not changed", warned Brock Long, the head of FEMA.

In its 0300 GMT advisory, the National Hurricane Center said the maximum sustained winds of Florence were 90 miles per hour (150 kilometers per hour), dropping it to the weakest of five categories on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

The Hurricane Center reported heavy rain bands with tropical-storm-force winds had arrived in the North Carolina Outer Banks.

Peterson, his wife and their three children spent Thursday morning packing anything they could fit into their vehicles before heading for the state capital in Raleigh, about 100 miles to the north and farther inland.

Will Epperson (36), a golf course assistant superintendent, said he and his wife had planned to ride out the storm in his home in Hampstead, North Carolina, but reconsidered due to its ferocity.

Vereen was taking that recommendation at face value - she and her children live in a mobile home in an open field, with nothing to protect it from the hurricane. "But can't replace us, so we made a decision to come here", said the 39-year-old.

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As of 10am Thursday (local time), Florence's top winds were 177km/h, and it was marching northwest at16km/h, about 257km east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and 329km east-southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Hurricane Florence is predicted to creep across the coast from North Carolina to SC, drenching a wide area after making landfall late Thursday or early Friday.

And even though meteorologists sort storms into categories by the strength of their winds, it's actually the storm surge that's most unsafe, as AccuWeather reported. Forecasters are predicting as much as 40in of rain in some localized areas.

Once the rain hits the coast, it will accumulate very quickly, causing some flash flooding and eventually likely overwhelming streams and rivers in the areas that get the most.

"This storm will bring destruction to North Carolina".

Officials in the potential path of Florence urged people to evacuate their coastal homes and directed drivers away from the coast. He asked citizens in danger zones to heed warnings because "your time is running out". "Inland flooding kills a lot of people".

Almost 2 million coastal residents are now under mandatory evacuation orders, although it remains unclear how many have actually done so. The governors of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia declared emergencies to help speed up government aid efforts.

One electricity company fears that three-quarters of its four million customers will lose power as a result of the storm, and may not be reconnected for weeks. Pugh and his wife had no choice but to flee, taking with them only their dogs and a couple of bags of clothes.

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