Millions prepare as storm approaches the U.S. coast

This enhanced satellite image made available by NOAA shows Hurricane Florence off the eastern coast of the United States on Wednesday Sept. 12 2018 at 5:52 p.m. EDT

Those who are in front of the state trooper cars as they close the reverted lanes, but after that residents can only take westbound lanes to Columbia.

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. He says: "If Mama and Grandma are going, then a lot of people are leaving". "The storm surge forecast associated with this storm has not changed".

Steering currents - around clear-weather high-pressure systems and stormy low-pressure systems - redirect hurricanes, with the clear-weather systems acting as walls that storms have to go around.

So far, it's estimate more than 1.7 million Americans have heeded the warnings about Hurricane Florence.

A crawling pace can be even more punishing than a fast one, because it lets the storm stall in one area as it dumps more and more heavy rain.

Adding to concerns, forecasters warned the larger and slow-moving storm could linger for days around the coast, leaving many without power and supplies. But riding out Hurricane Florence in areas that are being evacuated is not a good idea, especially in light of all the devastation brought about by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Maria in 2017 (Puerto Rico's government recently raised the island's Maria-related death toll to 2,975 people).

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Hurricane Florence's leading edge battered the Carolina coast Thursday, bending trees and shooting frothy sea water over streets on the Outer Banks, as the hulking storm closed in with 90 miles per hour (135 kph) winds for a drenching siege that could last all weekend.

Florence's maximum sustained winds were clocked on Thursday at 105 miles per hour (165 kph) after it was downgraded to a Category 2 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, according to the NHC. The storm's overall movement has slowed to 10 miles per hour.

Members of law enforcement work with the National Guard to direct traffic onto U.S. Highway 501 as Hurricane Florence approaches the East Coast Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, near Conway, S.C. Time is running short to get out of the way of Hurricane Florence, a monster of a storm that has a region of more than 10 million people in its potentially devastating sights. Some 3,000 people died in the aftermath of that storm.

Duke Energy said Florence, a Category 2 storm, could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks. "Today the threat becomes a reality", he said.

As many as three million people are expected to lose power. But the danger comes not so much from the wind as from the storm surges, which could raise the sea level to 4 meters in some points and flood the coast.

The storm has a wide reach, too. Officials in Onslow County, North Carolina reported major damage to homes and businesses in the county, where the Triangle Motor Inn in the city of Jacksonville had to be evacuated when it started to crumble, The Jacksonville Daily News reported.

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