Hurricane Florence: What we know and what to expect

New Bern

New Bern

Forecasters said Florence's surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 11 feet (3.4 meters) of sea water. Officials say people refusing to evacuate could end up alone, drenched and in the dark, as rescue crews won't go out to help in winds above 80 km/h.

"We're talking about days, potentially weeks", Duke Energy spokesman Jeff Brooks said Wednesday night on CNN Tonight. We know it has forced the cancellation of almost 1,800 flights, with more to come, and that it has already caused serious flooding in coastal areas.

At a news conference to discuss hurricane response and recovery early Friday, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi responded to Trump's tweet by saying, "Think about that, pray over that".

"Catastrophic flash and eventually river flooding remains the primary concern as Florence continues to drift inland slowly across central (North Carolina)", the National Weather Service's Raleigh office tweeted Friday afternoon.

Hurricane Florence is dumping rain on North Carolina and pushing a storm surge taller than most humans onto communities near the coast.

Fraudsters posing as government workers on Tuesday forced people to leave their homes and businesses in Virginia as Hurricane Florence inched closer to the USA east coast.

"On a scale of 1 to 10, I'm probably a 7" in terms of worry, she said.

Hurricane Florence made landfall Friday morning just east of Wilmington, North Carolina, where it brought a life-threatening storm surge that pushed water inland for miles, pounding rains and powerful winds that battered buildings in its path.

"Even a small prediction error could have major impacts", he said.

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Florence was located about 325 miles east-southeast of Myrtle beach, South Carolina, with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour, the Miami-based weather forecaster said.

By 9:30 a.m., more than 500,000 customers were without power across North Carolina, and the Triangle had begun to experience outages.

"The water kept rising and kept rising", he said.

"(It's) very eerie, the wind howling, the rain blowing sideways, debris flying", said Sandie Orsa, of Wilmington, who fears splintering trees will destroy her home.

"We've rescued over 100 people in New Bern, N.C.; people from Jacksonville, N.C., had to rescued from a hotel", Cooper said, describing efforts to save people in towns north of Wilmington where high floods have already hit.

Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire. Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it was unclear how many did.

Schools and businesses closed as far south as Georgia, airlines cancelled more than 1,500 flights, and coastal towns in the Carolinas were largely emptied out. What's more, Florence's historic amount of rainfall may lead to flooding of pig manure lagoons, and the hurricane's winds and storm surge have the potential to damage nuclear reactors in the region, Live Science previously reported.

"These are folks who chose to stay and ride out the storm for whatever reason, despite having a mandatory evacuation", she said.

Before sunrise, high winds and storm surge from Hurricane Florence hits Swansboro N.C., on September 14, 2018.

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