One million flee as Hurricane Florence bears down on US - Ireland

Bracing for Hurricane Florence | Don't Miss This

Bracing for Hurricane Florence | Don't Miss This

"For a meandering storm, the biggest concern - as we saw with Harvey - is the huge amount rainfall", said Chris Landsea, chief of tropical analysis and forecast branch at the National Hurricane Center.

Meanwhile, tropical storm Joyce continues its advance through the southwest Atlantic with maximum sustained winds of 65 kilometers per hour, although it does not represent a threat to populated areas. But authorities warned Florence has an enormous wind field that has been growing larger, raising the risk of the ocean surging on to land and making Florence extremely unsafe.

As of 2:00 am, the eye of the storm was 235 miles southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, moving northwest at 17 mph.

Though Florence won't be making landfall until Friday, tropical-storm-force winds - 39 to 73 miles per hour (63 to 117 km/h) - will begin whipping through coastal regions as early as tomorrow, making it exceptionally unsafe to be outside, Graham said.

A graphic of Hurricane Florence's path, generated today (Sept. 12) at 2 p.m. ET by the National Hurricane Center, shows an approximate representation of coastal areas under a hurricane warning (red), hurricane watch (pink), tropical storm warning (blue) and tropical storm watch (yellow).

"We lost power at home so we figured we should come to the bar", said Carla Mahaffee, a 33-year-old actor from Wilmington, as she drank a cider.

"It's possible that the west coast of Wales and Cornwall could get some winds as well, but we will get a clearer picture of what to expect very soon".

A man runs past a mandatory evacuation sign before Hurricane Florence comes ashore in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

"I've never been one to leave for a storm but this one kind of had me spooked", Epperson said.

A primary power supplier in the Carolinas, Duke Energy is already warning that some 75 percent of its 4 million customers could lose power - and not just for a few hours.

Despite pleas from officials, some residents rejected calls to evacuate.

"It certainly is a challenge forecasting precise impacts when its exact track won't be known until a day in advance", Landsea said: There's "a huge difference" in the size and type of damage Florence inflicts if it stays 50 miles (80 kilometres) off shore versus heading inland immediately.

Life-threatening storm surges of up to 13 feet were also forecast in some areas along with the possibility of tornadoes in North Carolina.

"This is probably the only exercise I get this week", she said.

The storm has pretty much followed the forecast track through now, but the issue will be Thursday or Friday as it nears the coast and the steering currents collapse. Despite its unpredictable path, it was forecast to make landfall near Cape Fear, North Carolina, at midday on Friday.

The White House said President Donald Trump approved making federal funding available in some affected counties. "Also, a little creepy".

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