Hurricane Florence Rocks Wooden Pier in Nags Head

Hurricane Florence hours away from Carolinas

Hurricane Florence: Wind and rain hit US coast ahead of system making landfall

Florence was downgraded to a Category 1 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale on Thursday evening and was moving west at only 6 miles per hour (9 km/h).

As Hurricane Florence clobbers the Carolinas, it's forecast to bring rain and some flooding risks to Maryland on Friday and Saturday.

Reports out of Wilmington, North Carolina, said that the outer bands of wind and rain from Florence, a Category 2 storm with 105 miles per hour winds, are hitting North Carolina. "That's the second story of a house", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said Thursday morning. He added later, "Most of the fatalities in these tropical systems is water". The storm was moving northwest at 10 miles per hour. It's now predicted to make landfall near Wilmington and then head west across SC. Additionally, tornadoes could arise in southeast North Carolina on Thursday and Friday.

He added: "This is a very unsafe storm. We have two boats and all our worldly possessions", said Susan Patchkofsky, who refused her family's pleas to evacuate and stayed at Emerald Isle with her husband.

A hurricane warning is in effect for a big chunk of the Carolina coast, from the South Santee River below Myrtle Beach, S.C., to Duck, N.C. - part of the Outer Banks.

The reptiles are also native to both Carolina states. Hundreds of thousands of people have already evacuated. Officials are urging others in its path to follow suit, or prepare for the worst. Its surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 11 feet (3.4 metres) of ocean water, and days of downpours could unload more than 3 feet (0.9 metres) of rain, touching off severe flooding.

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Even if you know nothing about hurricanes, an unavoidable sense of doom and destruction overtakes you when you look at this image of Hurricane Florence as it moves inexorably toward North and SC.

A zoomed in image of the eye of Hurricane Florence. Some areas could receive as much as 40 inches (one meter) of rain, forecasters said.

He said hurricane-force winds extended outward 80 miles from the center of the storm and tropical storm-force winds extended almost 200 miles out.

By late Thursday afternoon, Florence's fierce headwinds were already uprooting trees and tearing down power lines and had ripped the roof off of at least one building in coastal North Carolina, according to news station WGHP. The rest of South and North Carolina, including cities from Charlotte to Raleigh, can expect 6 to 12 inches of rain - and up to 2 feet in isolated areas, the NHC warned. Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire.

Because hurricane force winds extend 130 kilometers from the center, people on land will experience sharply deteriorating conditions long before the center reaches the coast.

Landfall is expected late Thursday or early Friday, and the National Hurricane Center fears the storm "will slow considerably or stall, leading to a prolonged and exceptionally heavy and unsafe rainfall event Friday-Sunday".

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