Five dead in Carolinas as Florence brings 'epic' floods

Hurricane Florence likely to affect southeast US energy infrastructure: EIA - Xinhua | English.news.cn

Roberts said numerous residents live near the Neuse and Trent rivers.

But the storm still carried "very risky winds", the Center added.

Hurricane Florence has been downgraded to a Category 1 storm. It is now at Category 1.

At 6 miles per hour, Florence is taking its time making it to shore, but it's already causing life-threatening storm surges and bringing hurricane-force winds to the North Carolina coast.

"Just because the wind speeds came down and the intensity of this storm came down to a Category 2, please do not let your guard down", Brock Long, the Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator, told reporters Thursday in Washington.

Its surge of ocean water could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 4m, and days of downpours could dump more than 1m of rain, touching off severe flooding. From a large gray conference room in the center, they have monitored the path of the storm, coordinated with local partners to open shelters and evacuate residents, mobilized first responders, hoped for the best and prepared for the worst.

According to North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, thirty-thousand people lost power across the state as of 5 PM and that number continues to rise. "Catastrophic effects will be felt".

U.S. Southeast power companies said more than 98,000 homes and businesses in North Carolina, Virginia and SC were without power on Thursday as Hurricane Florence approached the coast.

Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall in the Eastern Seaboard on Thursday and Friday.


It said it was located about 35 miles (55 km) west of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and forecasters predicted a slow westward march. "I've got four cats inside the house. But can't replace us, so we made a decision to come here", said the 39-year-old.

The National Hurricane Center warned the threat of tornadoes was increasing as Florence neared shore and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said the heavy rains could trigger landslides in the western part of his state.

He said hurricane-force winds extended outward 80 miles from the center of the storm and tropical storm-force winds extended almost 200 miles out. Some areas could receive as much as 40 inches (one meter) of rain, forecasters said. The rainfall will cause prolonged significant river flooding.

Although Charlotte is farther inland than the areas expected to the get the brunt of the hurricane force winds natives say they are anxious about the rain and risk of flooding.

Virginia and Georgia are also under states of emergency, but it's North and SC that are positioned to suffer the worst of the storm's wrath. The actual landfall - when the center of the eye reaches land - will be Friday afternoon at the earliest, said Neil Jacobs of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. A state of emergency has been declared in five coastal states - North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland and Virginia - as well as the U.S. capital Washington.

Duke Energy Co. said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks.

Roughly 1 million people are under evacuation orders.

"Storms of this magnitude have struck the USA coastline in the past, in some cases causing $10 billion or less in total damage", Myers said.

"Either no (hotel) rooms are available, or we are denied because the breed or size of dogs", she said.

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