Hurricane Florence has weakened but it will still be devastating

Thousands evacuate parts of US East Cast ahead of Hurricane Florence

"Watch out, America!" Gerst, who joined the crew of the International Space Station (ISS) in June, said Wednesday via a tweet featuring pictures he took of Hurricane Florence. Residents in coastal areas should follow evacuation orders from local officials because of the potential for life-threatening storm surge flooding.

Those facing the most serious threat are in the Carolinas, as Category 4 Hurricane Florence barrels toward the coast, with an expected landfall Friday.

Almost 1000 prisoners in SC will not be moved from their cells, despite a mandatory evacuation order in the area. "They're our responsibility", he said.

"Trucks, planes and people are ready to help if needed", Clark said, adding that the company is working with the Red Cross and others.

North Carolina resident Roberto Guzman carries belongings from his mobile home as he leaves Wilmington a day before the storm is due to strike.

In addition to inundating the coast with wind-driven storm surges of seawater as high as 9 feet (2.7 meters) along the Carolina coast, Florence could dump 20 to 30 inches (51-76 cm) of rain, with up to 40 inches (1 metre) in parts of North Carolina, the NHC said.

"This is not going to be a glancing blow", said Jeff Byard, an administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

With the storm's fierce wind and rain threatening numerous state's cash crops, farmers were working around the clock to harvest as much corn and tobacco as they could.


At 8:00 pm (0000 GMT), the eye of the storm was 335 miles (540 kms) southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, moving northwest at 16 mph (26 kph).

Although Ocean City is not expected to experience tropical storm force wind or heavy rainfall, property owners should still secure loose, lightweight objects including patio furniture and garbage cans.

Nathan Deal issued an emergency declaration for the entire state to ease regulations on trucks hauling gasoline and relief supplies. Authorities in Chatham County, Georgia, which borders SC and includes the historic port city of Savannah, urged residents who feel unsafe "to evacuate as they see fit".

The eastbound lanes of several major highways have been shut to allow traffic to flow inland, but the exodus was slow along roads jammed with outward-bound vehicles.

"It does look a bit similar to Harvey in a sense that it goes roaring into shore and then comes to a screeching stop", said MIT meteorology professor and hurricane expert Kerry Emanuel. "There's nobody left to work. That was one of the first things I learned when I moved down here", says Brown. "You can't stop Mother Nature".

Her children are adults now and live out of her home, and her husband is caring for their two dogs while she is hunkered down in Roper.

"Everything is packed", Espinoza said.

While Hurricane Florence has been downgraded, millions of people in and around South and North Carolina are still on alert.

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