More than 20,000 on NC coast already without power from Florence gusts

Time nearly up: Fierce Hurricane Florence aims at southeast US

Corps staff worked with Army officials to review dams at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Jackson in SC to "ensure any effects of Florence on those dams are mitigated", said Ray Alexander, the Corps' inter-agency services chief.

Florence was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared past year for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

Almost 1,200 flights have been canceled because of the storm.

The city assured those who were trapped that help was on the way.

"It can not be emphasized enough that the most serious hazard associated with slow-moving Florence is extremely heavy rainfall, which will cause disastrous flooding that will be spreading inland through the weekend", the National Hurricane Center said in its 5 a.m. update.

One forecast from weather-tracking website Weathermodels.com predicts that over the next week, the Carolinas could see as much as 11 trillion gallons of rain.

Hurricane Florence wasn't expected to make landfall until later Friday morning, but residents in coastal areas were already losing power as fierce gusts lashed the eastern edge of North Carolina. Hurricane Florence's path is hitting many counties where fewer than 5% of people have flood insurance.

Sandie Orsa is waiting out Hurricane Florence in a hotel in Wilmington.

Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it's unclear how many did. "A storm can come and wipe your house out overnight".

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3 million could lose power when Hurricane Florence hits
Wednesday update shows the storm changing course and moving more into SC after the hurricane would make landfall. The Ridgeland Fire Department urges residents in areas that typically flood to leave for higher ground.

Duke Energy Corp, the biggest utility in the area with over 4 million customers, estimated the storm could cause between 1 million to 3 million outages.

Two women who were riding out the storm dance to the music outside the Barbary Coast bar in downtown Wilmington, N.C., as Hurricane Florence threatens the coast, September 13, 2018.

Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles (130 kilometres) from its centre, and tropical-storm-force winds reached out to 195 miles (315 kilometres).

One video, below shows the effect from a potential storm surge which could rise up to 9 feet in some areas.

Scientists said it is too soon to say what role, if any, global warming played in the storm.

The fresh water flooding will also be a major issue as the storm moves inland.

Parts of the Mid-Atlantic states can also expect heavy rains from what is left of Florence well into next week. "If we lose the house, oh well, we can get housing. If I can't get back in a week, after a while they might turn on each other or trash the place".

After it weakens inland, Florence is predicted to turn northward, raising concern about how additional rainfall - even from a significantly weakened storm - will impact the southwestern portion of the commonwealth, which is already water-logged.

Yesterday, Dr Greg Postel, the network's hurricane specialist, said three feet (0.9m) of water was enough to knock people off their feet, potentially carry cars away and flood lower levels of buildings.

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