FLORENCE: Hurricane closes in on North Carolina

Satellite images show Hurricane Florence as it nears U.S. coast

The storm's winds may have weakened in recent days - they are now at 110mph (175km/h) - but there are fears Florence's slow-moving nature could bring different problems. I believe that was a Category 1 storm when it hit Charlotte.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said: "Florence is still forecast to be an extremely unsafe major hurricane when it nears the U.S. coast late Thursday and Friday".

Officials in New Hanover County, which includes Wilmington, have stockpiled enough food and water for 60,000 people for four days, along with more than 28,000 tarps.

From his orbiting perch, Gerst offered Earthlings yet another warning about the hurricane's dangers: "Get prepared on the East Coast, this is a no-kidding nightmare coming for you". As it turns into southern SC.

Though Florence won't be making landfall until Friday, tropical-storm-force winds - 39 to 73 miles per hour (63 to 117 km/h) - will begin whipping through coastal regions as early as tomorrow, making it exceptionally risky to be outside, Graham said.

"All interests from SC into the Mid-Atlantic region should ensure they have their hurricane plan in place and follow any advice given by local officials", the Hurricane Center said.

If winds get too strong, officers will be pulled off the roads.

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As of Thursday at 5 a.m., the storm had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph and was located about 105 miles east of the island of Dominica, moving west at 17 mph. Thousands of Marines and their families evacuated from Camp Lejeune, leaving the rest to dig in ahead of what could be a direct hit. Officials are urging others in its path to follow suit, or prepare for the worst.

An estimated 10 million people live in areas expected to be placed under a hurricane or storm advisory, said Marc Chenard of the US Weather Prediction Center. "Life-threatening storm surge flooding, catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding are still expected".

Masters said there's a tug-of-war between two clear skies high pressure systems - one off the coast and one over MI - and the more the Great Lakes one wins, the more southerly Florence will be. It ranged 59 to 83 feet Wednesday morning.

"We are completely ready for hurricane Florence, as the storm gets even larger and more powerful".

Calling the storm surge prediction "incredible", Graham said that because Florence will likely nudge its way onto the coast, giving its hurricane winds lots of time to force water inland, he wouldn't be surprised "to see storm surge a mile, a mile and a half inland - maybe even two miles or more, in some cases".

Parts the eastern seaboard of the United States will be deluged with 40 inches of rain and suffer a "Mike Tyson punch" from Hurricane Florence, emergency planners warned today.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam joined the chorus of warnings, and issued an evacuation order for about a quarter million residents in flood-prone coastal areas, beginning Tuesday morning.

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