U.S. coast battered by wind, rain as Hurricane Florence closes in

ECU football team relocates to Orlando ahead of Florence

ECU football team relocates to Orlando ahead of Florence

"Catastrophic effects will be felt".

Rain begins to fall as the outer bands of Hurricane Florence make landfall in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on September 13, 2018.

If the European model is true or the overall trend persists, University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy said it "is exceptionally bad news, as it smears a landfall out over hundreds of miles of coastline, most notably the storm surge". It is expected start affecting North Carolina and SC as early as September 13.

The center said the threat of freshwater flooding will increase over the next several days.

The National Hurricane Center says the eyewall of Hurricane Florence is beginning to reach the North Carolina coast.

The downgraded status of the storm, which indicates that Hurricane Florence is moving at maximum sustained wind speeds of 110 miles per hour, means little in terms of its impact and deadly potential, according to Elliot Abrams, chief forecaster at Accuweather.

Forecasters anxious the storm's damage will be all the worse if it lingers on the coast.

At 11:00 pm (0300 GMT), Florence was over the Atlantic Ocean about 60 miles (95 kilometers) east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and moving northwest at six miles per hour, the NHC said.

The torrential rainfall could last for significant periods and cause catastrophic flooding, including in inland areas such as Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.

The first large power outage in the Wilmington area also occurred Thursday morning, with the Duke outage map showing almost 1,400 customers in the Acme-Delco area of Columbus County and northwest Brunswick County without power. Usually when a storm approaches the coast, forecasters can tell with ever-increasing accuracy who will get walloped.

"I ask all Georgians to join me in praying for the safety of our people and all those in the path of Hurricane Florence", Deal said.

Six feet (1.8m) of storm surge could carry large objects like cars underwater and leave lower levels structures submerged in water, according to Dr Postel.

The Pentagon has dispatched two ships and a Marine unit offshore to provide help if needed.

Almost 2 million coastal residents are now under mandatory evacuation orders, although it remains unclear how many have actually done so.

"I've been watching the weather and they've been saying about the evacuation and she's like family and I didn't want her stuck in that", said Morton.

The police chief of Wrightsville Beach suggested that those who made a decision to stay give him their next-of-kin contact information.

Inmates at the Al Cannon Detention Center in Charleston County and the Berkeley County Detention Center will not be moved elsewhere, according to Buzzfeed News.

"We'll handle it. We're ready".

"We're watching [Florence], but it's not going to affect us in the near term", Tome said.

Florence is forecast to significantly weaken as it crawls across central South Carolina Saturday.

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