Florence makes landfall in US

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Hurricane Florence has weakened to a Category 2 storm as it approaches landfall in the USA - but it is very slow moving and could linger the coastline bringing catastrophic flooding and heavy losses to insurers. After a Friday landfall near Cape Fear, N.C., the storm is expected to drift slowly west, battering the Carolinas through the weekend.

"We are coming to get you", New Bern city officials said on Twitter.

The governor said those were "early warnings of the days to come".

About 5.25 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million live in places covered by tropical storm warnings or watches, the National Weather Service said.

At 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT), the hurricane centre said Florence had maximum sustained winds near 45 miles per hour (75 km per hour) and continued to produce catastrophic flooding in the Carolinas.

Florence could cause an environmental disaster in North Carolina, where waste from hog manure pits, coal ash dumps and other industrial sites could wash into homes and threaten drinking water supplies. All the big vaping brands - think Vuse, Blu and the king of them all, Juul - have 60 days to submit plans on how they'll curtail child vape enthusiasts, said Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, calling youth vaping an "epidemic".

Authorities in New Bern said more than 100 people had to be saved from floods and that the downtown area was underwater.

As of Tuesday, more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out.

Helping with rescues there were members of the so-called Cajun Navy, a group of Louisiana-based volunteers who became famous during last year's Hurricane Harvey, locals said on Twitter.




"Do you want to get hit with a train or do you want to get hit with a cement truck?" he said. "If that occurs, when you call 911, we will tell you that they are not able to respond, and then we will call you back to see if you still need their services when they are again able to respond during the storm".

Video reports from several towns in the Carolinas showed emergency personnel wading through rippling thigh-high floodwaters in residential neighborhoods.

"'This is not going to be a glancing blow". He said all roads leading to his neighborhood were blocked by fallen trees.

"For the boating public, I urge you to take time now and complete your preparations before the arrival of tropical storm-force winds, which could be a day or two before the actual landfall of the storm", Reed said.

More than 634,000 homes and businesses were without power in North and SC early on Friday, utility officials said. Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storm's aftermath, it said. President Donald Trump preemptively declared an emergency in North Carolina, enabling the state to access federal funds in anticipation of the storm.

Florence could threaten the largest rainfall event in US history, Hurricane Harvey, the 2017 whirlwind that settled over Texas and dropped more than 60 inches of rain, turning roadways into rivers, destroying homes and buildings and killing almost 90 people.

"I am anxious about what I might find when I go home, though", she said.

"It looks heavy outside", she said.

After appearing headed toward the North Carolina-Virginia border at one point, Florence shifted south and is now taking aim at the Carolinas.

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