3 million could lose power when Hurricane Florence hits

Standstill traffic for 30 miles on I-95 near Georgia-SC border as Florence evacuees flee | Island Packet

Hurricane Florence is now hurtling toward North and SC and is forecast to bring unprecedented rainfall. He said the federal government is "absolutely, totally prepared" for Florence. "If you are not under an evacuation order, finish your preparations today".

With Hurricane Florence set to wallop the area as a Category 4 hurricane, there are fears the ponds could overflow or even collapse amid extremely heavy rain, sending vast amounts of manure from thousands of farms into rivers and contaminating groundwater.

The Miami-based NHC stressed, however, that while a slow weakening is expected over the next 24 hours "Florence is still forecast to be an extremely unsafe major hurricane when it nears the USA coast late Thursday and Friday".

"Someone's gonna get screwed on this", he said. "We are ready. We're as ready as anybody's ever been".

An updated track at 5 a.m. Wednesday update shows the storm changing course and moving more into SC after the hurricane would make landfall. Hurricane Florence is now barreling toward the East Coast and is forecast to bring, "life-threatening storm surge and rainfall... across portions of the Carolinas", according to NOAA's National Hurricane Center.

Jeff Byard of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) invoked a former boxing champion to warn residents that Florence would bring "a Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast".

Duke Energy, a power company in the Carolinas, estimated that one million to three million customers could lose electricity because of the storm and that it could take weeks to restore.

By 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday, the storm was about 335 miles southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina. Its maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly to 110 miles per hour (175 kph).

Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency for the state of Georgia: "in light of the storm's forecasted southward track after making landfall".

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Governor Deal said yesterday: "The state is mobilising all available resources to ensure public safety ahead of Hurricane Florence".

The National Hurricane Center's best guess was that Florence would blow ashore as early as Friday afternoon around the North Carolina-South Carolina line, then push its rainy way westward with a potential for catastrophic inland flooding.

In Wilmington, Solange Iliou Thompson closed down her restaurant, Indochine, because all of her employees had left the city.

"I've been through hurricanes before but never with kids", she said. "If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have minded staying here".

Gov. Henry McMaster is not yet issuing mandatory evacuation orders for Jasper and Beaufort counties, but officials have not ruled out the possibility of another evacuation order.

In Virginia, 245,000 coastal residents were ordered to evacuate.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for...

The Ridgeland Fire Department urges residents in areas that typically flood to leave for higher ground.

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