FLORENCE: Up to 30 percent of NC could lose power

Hurricane Florence As monster storm closes in on Carolinas people rush to buy supplies board up homes

Hurricane Florence As monster storm closes in on Carolinas people rush to buy supplies board up homes

Gov. Roy Cooper warned, describing day after day of disastrous weather to come.

Hurricane Florence's leading edge battered the Carolina coast Thursday, bending trees and shooting frothy sea water over streets on the Outer Banks, as the hulking storm closed in with 90 miles per hour (135 kph) winds for a drenching siege that could last all weekend.

As of 5 a.m., Florence was 25 miles (55 kilometers) east of Wilmington, North Carolina.

There were no immediate reports of storm-related deaths or serious injuries, but authorities said more than 100 people were rescued further north in New Bern, where the downtown area of the city of 30,000 people was under water.

Despite its unpredictable path, it was forecast to make landfall near Cape Fear, North Carolina, at midday on Friday.

At 8 a.m., the center of Florence was 10 miles (15 kilometers) south of Wilmington.

According to some forecasts, Florence is predicted to slow down and stall off the coast of North and SC before moving around off the shore on September 14, Sept. 15, and September 16.

Hurricane Florence is predicted to bring "catastrophic flash flooding" to parts of North and SC, along with strong winds and a massive storm surge.

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But the biggest danger could be life-threatening storm surges.

The result: catastrophic inland flooding that could swamp homes, businesses, farm fields and industrial sites.

The National Weather Service says almost 5 million people could witness at least 10 inches of rain as the slow-moving storm makes slow forward progress.

Invest 95L, which is the National Hurricane Center designation for the system we are watching in the central Gulf of Mexico, may organize into at least a tropical depression before impacting the western Gulf coast from Mexico through Texas to Louisiana by Friday.

"It's going to coming roaring up to the coast Thursday night and say 'I'm not sure I really want to do this and I'll just take a tour of the coast and decide where I want to go inland, '" said Jeff Masters, who is the meteorology director of the private Weather Underground website, AP reported.

Hurricane Florence is predicted to creep across the coast from North Carolina to SC after making landfall late Thursday or early Friday.

Emergency preparations included activating more than 2,700 National Guard troops, stockpiling food, setting up shelters, switching traffic patterns so major roads led away from shore, and securing 16 nuclear power reactors in the Carolinas and Virginia. Home Depot and Lowe's activated emergency response centers to get generators, trash bags and bottled water to stores before and after the storm. The two hardware chains said they sent in a total of around 1100 trucks.

Duke Energy, the nation's No. 2 power company, said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its four million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks.

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But Jeremy Tominack said he stayed so he could keep an eye on his home and help his fellow Wilmington residents after the storm passes.

"In 12 or 18 hours, they may be saying different things all over again", he said. Florence is a large hurricane.

Computer models anticipating the path of the storm are varied, adding to the uncertainty.

More than one million people had been ordered to evacuate the coastlines of the Carolinas and Virginia.

With the hurricane beginning to batter North Carolina, the state's Governor has asked US President Donald Trump for another federal disaster declaration beyond what he declared earlier this week.

"This could be a recovery nightmare", said Steve Pfaff, with the National Weather Service in Wilmington, North Carolina. Unsure of what they might find when they return home, the couple went shopping for a recreational vehicle.

"We're just trying to plan for the future here, not having a house for an extended period of time", David Garrigus said.

Melody Rawson evacuated her first-floor apartment in Myrtle Beach and arrived at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia, to camp for free with three other adults, her disabled son, two dogs and a pet bird.

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"We expect to see sea level rise up to six meters and rainfall which amounts to the annual amount of rainfall in one day", its secretary-general Petteri Taalas told a news briefing on Thursday. Three other Southern raceways also opened campgrounds to evacuees.

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