Florence knocking on Wilmington's door, remains Category 4 storm

Florence knocking on Wilmington's door, remains Category 4 storm

Florence knocking on Wilmington's door, remains Category 4 storm

Florence was about 550 miles off shore Wednesday morning and is expected to bring rain, wind and a massive storm surge to the Carolinas by Thursday.

Hurricane Florence is predicted to slam into the US's East Coast as an "extremely unsafe major hurricane" overnight on Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said.

The storm could shatter Wilmington rainfall records as areas near the coast could see as much as 3 feet of rain while inland regions could get 7 to 20 inches, the weather service said.

The slow movement, combined with the massive amount of moisture this storm holds, will bring unsafe rains - from 20 to 30 inches in coastal North Carolina and 40 inches possible in isolated areas, the weather service says.

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

North Carolina governor Roy Cooper told locals not to "bet your life on riding out a monster", with ferocious winds set to batter the shoreline.

Maryland and Washington, D.C. have also both declared states of emergency.

As of Tuesday (Wednesday NZT), about 1.7 million people in North and SC and Virginia were under warnings to evacuate the coast, and hurricane watches and warnings extended across an area with about 5.4 million residents. Crews from the Midwest and vendors across the Southeast have traveled to the area.

Speaking in the Oval Office alongside Trump, FEMA administrator Brock Long said Hurricane Florence may be a "very devastating storm".

Numerous beach communities expected to be impacted by Hurricane Florence have livestreams to monitor the surf conditions.

In addition to storm surge warnings, forecasters say Hurricane Florence could dump between one and two-and-a-half feet of rain. In fact, Florence itself is larger than North Carolina itself.

Wilmington, North Carolina, just north of where the hurricane is expected to come ashore, was sunny around midday on Wednesday as the town appeared to be emptying. They are now flying into Isaac and also have a plane ready for storm recovery after Florence hits. "It's going to happen. We wanted to make sure our associates had time to take care of their families".

"With the storm not making landfall until at least Friday, residents have more time to evacuate and prepare".

"It's going to be bad", said Woody White, chairman of the New Hanover County Commissioners. "We know there's probably going to be loss of power for a number of days".

Officials are urging those who still intend to try to ride out Hurricane Florence to pack up and leave.

- Florence is forecast to stall near the South Carolina/North Carolina coastline into Friday night and then drift towards Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Three college football games with Top 25 teams have been called off: East Carolina at No. 11 Virginia Tech, No. 15 West Virginia at NC State and No. 18 Central Florida at North Carolina.

Duke Energy, the nation's No. 2 power company, said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks. Cars and trucks full of people and belongings streamed inland.

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