Hurricane Florence: What we know and what to expect

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The southern areas of central North Carolina could see more than 20 inches of rain.

In less than 24 hours, Florence has dropped from category 4 to category 2.

"It's going to be bad", said Woody White, chairman of the New Hanover County Commissioners. The Army Corps of Engineers was preparing to start work restoring power, installing temporary roofing and removing debris.

"The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore winds, where the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves", the NWS report said.

In addition to the coastal flood warning, a tropical storm warning is in effect for Hampton Roads from Poquoson to the Virginia-North Carolina border because of Hurricane Florence.

Roy Cooper, the Governor of North Carolina, said surviving the storm would be a test of "endurance, teamwork, common sense and patience".

Forecasters said the Category 1 storm's extreme size meant it could batter the U.S. East Coast with hurricane-force winds for almost a full day.

Florence is about 644 kilometres wide and it's winds have dropped from a peak of 225 km/h to 165 km/h, reducing the hurricane from a terrifying Category 4 to a Category 2.

"In a matter of seconds, my house was flooded up to the waist, and now it is to the chest", said Peggy Perry, who along with three relatives, was trapped early Friday in her New Bern home, according to CNN.

Hurricane Florence made landfall Friday morning just east of Wilmington, North Carolina, where it brought a life-threatening storm surge that pushed water inland for miles, pounding rains and powerful winds that battered buildings in its path.

"It truly is really about the whole size of this storm", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said.




More than 400,000 homes and businesses have lost power across North Carolina overnight, local media reported.

As of 11 p.m. EST, Florence was about 50 miles south of Morehead City, North Carolina, and 60 miles southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, said early Friday the storm had sustained winds of 109 kilometers per hour (67 mph).

The rising sea crept toward the two-story home of Tom Copeland, who lives on a spit of land surrounded by water in Swansboro.

Thousands of people hunkered down in schools, shelters and a coliseum in Winston-Salem.

More than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and state of Virginia had been urged to evacuate.

The rainy summer has already caused some flooding at the zoo, so Kottyan said it has already identified problem areas on the grounds and is taking measures to guard against additional flooding from the hurricane, such as blocking animal stall doors with hay bails.

The hurricane was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as sluggish and unprepared for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico a year ago.

Hurricane Irma destroyed Kathy Griffin's house in Florida past year, and it could be days before she finds out whether Florence smashed her fifth-story condominium in Wrightsville Beach, where authorities said utilities could be out for days or weeks.

Wednesday, keen-eyed WFMY staffers noticed there were dozens of Facebook events with ill-advised but hilarious ways to beat the storm, from suggesting we yell "Fake News!" at the hurricane to playing our saxophones in that general direction. "I'm not sure if it's a shift in the wind or low tide - but the water has miraculously disappeared".

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