"Once In A Lifetime" Hurricane Florence Weakens, Begins Lashing Eastern US

The vivid presentation - powered by the Unreal Engine, most commonly used in video games - seems likely to serve as a more pressing demonstration of the storm's threat than a mere written warning, and that's vitally important for folks in impacted areas.

Just as Hurricane Florence closes in on the Southeast, the area covered by hurricane-force winds has doubled - meaning far more people will get blasted with winds topping 73 miles per hour.

"Just because the wind speed came down, the intensity of this storm came down to a Cat 2, please do not let your guard down", said Brock Long, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). "The combination of a risky storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline". Some are pet-friendly, and others are not.

Zookeepers and veterinarians resolved to hunker down with the creatures and see them through the storm.

Some 11,000 power outages have been reported in North Carolina. The two hardware chains said they sent in a total of around 1,100 trucks.

Florence's top winds were clocked on Thursday evening at 90 miles per hour (150 km/h) as it churned in the Atlantic Ocean, down from a peak of 140 miles per hour (224 km/h) earlier this week when it was classified a Category 4 storm.

The next concern for airlines is Tropical Storm Isaac, which threatens to hammer vacation destinations in the Caribbean, as Hurricanes Irma and Maria did a year ago.

Cooper also requested additional federal disaster assistance in anticipation of what his office called "historic major damage" across the state. Steve Goldstein with NOAA said the Pamlico Sound and the Pamlico and Neuse rivers were particular areas of concern.

Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but its unclear how many did.

Hurricane Florence: Where will the storm hit?
Spanish moss waved in the trees as the winds picked up in Wilmington , and floating docks bounced atop swells at Morehead City. A buoy off the North Carolina coast recorded waves almost 30 feet (9 meters) high as Florence churned toward shore.

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Hurricane Florence weakens, but still a strong flood threat
It will then slow considerably while strengthening off the USA coast, and produce extremely unsafe conditions in its path. The governor added that a million or more people could be evacuated before the end of the storm.

The Weather ChannelThe Weather Channel forecast what showed nine-foot floodwaters would look like on a neighbourhood street.

Over 1,400 flights have been cancelled, according to FlightAware.com, as most of the coastal region's airports are closed to ride out the storm.

"Little change in strength is expected before the center reaches the coast, with weakening expected after the center moves inland", the briefing said. Home Depot and Lowe's activated emergency response centers and sent in around 1,100 trucks to get generators, trash bags and bottled water to stores before and after the storm.

The first large power outage in the Wilmington area also occurred Thursday morning, with the Duke outage map showing almost 1,400 customers in the Acme-Delco area of Columbus County and northwest Brunswick County without power. The company said as many as three-fourths of its 4 million customers in North Carolina and SC could lose power.

"This storm will bring destruction to North Carolina", Gov. Roy Cooper said Thursday morning.

According to meteorologist Eric Holthaus, even though Florence's winds might not be as strong, Florence could be much worse than Hugo.

Florence is expected to make landfall about 8 a.m. Friday, then stall over the Wilmington region, dumping up to 35 inches of rain and prompting worry of "extreme" flash flooding. "If we lose the house, oh well, we can get housing".

"I'm not going to put our personnel in harm's way", said Dan House.

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