Hurricane Florence becomes Category 1; outer bands lash coast, catastrophic flooding expected

A child looks on as a man boards up a mobile home in Wilmington ahead of the hurricane

A child looks on as a man boards up a mobile home in Wilmington ahead of the hurricane

Authorities are warning USA coastal residents in the path of Hurricane Florence to evacuate now or be at the mercy of the Category 3 storm, which is expected to slow upon hitting the coast of the Carolinas on Thursday and ravage the region with storm surge, rainfall, and flooding.

The Miami-based center said in an update at 11 p.m. that the storm's eye was about 50 miles south of Morehead, City, North Carolina. That reduced Florence from a Category 4 to a Category 2 hurricane, but forecasters warned that the widening storm - and its likelihood of lingering around the coast day after day after day - will bring surging ocean water and torrential rain.

The hurricane centers best guess was that Florences eye would blow ashore as early as Friday afternoon around the North Carolina-South Carolina line.

Florence is expected to go move slowly as it approaches North and SC, whipping hurricane-force winds and dumping relentless rain at least through Saturday.

Hurricane Florence has come closer to the US East Coast as disaster mobilisations expanded south from the Carolinas into Georgia to counter the threat of deadly high seas and calamitous floods. Forecasters say 40 inches (one meter) of rain are possible along the coast of North Carolina.

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Severe inland flooding is also forecast for the Palmetto State, which is expected to see Florence drift through its Pee Dee, Midlands and Upstate regions on Saturday and Sunday.

Grest (Twitter link), who joined the International Space Station crew back in June, tweeted some awesome and terrifying pictures of Hurricane Florence sprawled over the planet under his feet. Airlines had canceled almost 1,000 flights and counting.

Air Force General Terrence J O'Shaughnessy, head of US Command, said search and rescue is a top priority but that the magnitude of the storm may exceed the ability of rescuers.

Boeing evacuated several new 787-10 Dreamliner jets from its factory in North Charleston, South Carolina, to protect them from the storm.

So far, it's estimate more than 1.7 million Americans have heeded the warnings about Hurricane Florence.

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"I ask all Georgians to join me in praying for the safety of our people and all those in the path of Hurricane Florence", Deal said.

But what makes Florence so different from other storms this year? Duke Energy is expected anywhere from 1-3 million power outages across the Carolinas due to the storm.

The storm's possible track now bends farther to the SW and closer to cities like Jacksonville, but it's the delay and the possible repeat of a Harvey-like storm cycle that has officials and weather forecasters anxious.

Hurricane Florence is already being called the storm of a lifetime in certain parts of the Carolinas and officials throughout the southeast corridor are warning residents if they don't evacuate now - they are on their own. Unsure of what they might find when they return home, the couple went shopping for a recreational vehicle.

She also said residents don't need to live next to a river or creek to experience catastrophic flooding in their basements. "I've got four cats inside the house". Tropical Storm Isaac is forecast to approach the Lesser Antilles Islands on Thursday.

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