More than 98,000 without power in U.S. Southeast as Florence approaches

4 dead as Hurricane Florence drenches the Carolinas

4 dead as Hurricane Florence drenches the Carolinas

The hurricane's sheer size means it could batter the US East Coast with hurricane-force winds for almost a full day, according to weather forecasters.

Don't be fooled by Hurricane Florence's weakening category - the powerful storm still poses the same dangers at a Category 2 as it did as a Category 4, the forecasts show.

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

Twice a day for the past week, Michael Sprayberry, the Director of North Carolina's Division of Emergency Management has briefed officials working out of the sprawling glass and steel building that is serving as the state's emergency response hub ahead of Hurricane Florence.

The National Hurricane Center warned the threat of tornadoes was increasing as Florence neared shore and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said the heavy rains could trigger landslides in the western part of his state.

On Thursday, Florence was a Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale with 120-mph winds (193 km).

As of Friday morning, Atlantic Beach, a town on the state's Outer Banks barrier islands, already had received 30 inches (76 cm) of rain, the U.S. Geological Service said.

And in Wilmington, North Carolina, a steady rain began to fall as gusts of winds intensified, causing trees to sway and stoplights to flicker. "And I just don't think that there's a problem that we can't solve". "We got thrown into mailboxes, houses, trees", said Holt, who had stayed at home because of a doctor's appointment that was later canceled.

"Since my husband retired and my health declined, we have his retirement as an income".

Though Florence's shrieking winds diminished from hurricane force as it came ashore, forecasters said the sheer size of the 350-mile-wide storm and its painfully slow progress across North and SC in the coming days could leave much of the region under water.

Eight months of rain will fall on North and SC in three days, forecasters have warned, as Hurricane Florence crawls towards the east coast of the United States.




Hurricane Florence has only just begun to wreak havoc along the Carolina coastlines, but already people are capturing absolutely shocking footage of the storm surges from the category 2 hurricane. Forty inches of rainfall are possible in some areas of North Carolina.

Forecasters continue to warn of storm surges, excessive rainfall and catastrophic flash flooding.

"It is imperative that everyone follow local evacuation orders".

Long said the danger was not only along the coast. As Florence moves inland, we'll see more rain and more flooding from our rivers.

One resident from Myrtle Beach, a popular SC destination for tourists, told CNN: "We're well prepared".

Mayor Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune told CNN traffic out of the SC city has more than quadrupled as residents and visitors evacuate.

Emergency declarations were in force in Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

As the Carolinas prepare for Hurricane Florence's wrath, Duke Energy is preparing for anywhere between 1 and 3 million people to lose power during the storm. In the Philippines, evacuations were under way with Super Typhoon Mangkhut expected to hit on Saturday in an area impacting an estimated 5.2 million people.

At last report, the storm was about 180 kilometers east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina and about 270 kilometers east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Tom Ballance said his wife went to Atlanta and he stayed behind in their New Bern home with their three dogs and a cat.

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