Hurricane Florence makes landfall in Carolinas, threatens catastrophic flood

Even in downgrading Florence which is expected to crash into the Carolinas late Thursday night or early Friday the National Hurricane Center predicted “life-threatening storm surge,” “catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flo

"Catastrophic effects will be felt".

"It truly is really about the whole size of this storm", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said.

New Hanover County residents are getting their last few chances to evacuate.

Hurricane Florence continues to drop category, but not unsafe, while hundreds of thousands of people try to get away from the coasts of the two Carolinas and Virginia. "This large-scale feature is expected to keep the hurricane moving northwestward today, followed by a turn toward the west at a much slower speed on Friday as the ridge to the north of Florence weakens due to a weak shortwave trough dropping slowly southward from the Ohio Valley". On the James River, waves are expected to be about 1 foot though Sunday.

The hurricane centre also said the threat of tornadoes was increasing as the storm neared shore. Officials say more than 100 people have already been rescued in the area overnight.

More than 1 million people had been ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia and thousands have moved to emergency shelters.

As Florence drew near, President Donald Trump tweeted that FEMA and first responders are "supplied and ready", and he disputed the official conclusion that almost 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico, claiming the figure was a Democratic plot to make him look bad.

By 5 a.m., about 200 people had been rescued from flooded homes in New Bern, where the National Weather Service reported 10 feet of inundation. Kottyan said they will decide whether to keep some employees on site as Florence's path becomes more clear. Millions of people are expected to lose power and it could take weeks to resolve the outages.

Cooper said the hurricane was "wreaking havoc" on the coast and could wipe out entire communities as it makes its "violent grind across our state for days".

On social media, people caught in the storm are posting dramatic videos of flooding and high winds. The storm is massive and was a Category 4 hurricane at its worst that will devastate anything it encounters. "Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles (130 km) from the centre and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles (315 km)".

Horton pleaded for volunteers to take in their animals for the duration of the storm, a common, plaintive refrain at other shelters across the area.

"I have no generator", said Petra Langston, a nurse. "I should stay in my house, where I have water and food".

The police chief of a barrier island in Florence's bulls'-eye said he was asking for next-of-kin contact information from the few residents who refused to leave.

In Sea Breeze, Roslyn Fleming, 56, made a video of the inlet where her granddaughter was baptised because "I just don't think a lot of this is going to be here" after the storm, she told Reuters news agency.

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