Hurricane Florence starts its prolonged assault on the Carolinas

Of course, these various components blend together to cause maximum, and long-standing, devastation-which is what makes prudent pre-storm measures, and sustained post-storm aid, so critical to preserving human life. Weather forecasters also warn that the threat of tornadoes is increasing as the system draws closer to land. "We're still going to have a Category 4 storm surge".

Florence is now moving to the northwest at 17 kilometers per hour.

People on barrier islands or peninsulas were running out of time Wednesday to retreat by bridge or ferry.

The storm's center was about 170 miles southeast of Wilmington at 8 a.m. Thursday, according to a National Hurricane Center briefing.

Industrial waste, including toxic ash from power plants, could also be spread by flooding from the massive storm, which has caused mandatory evacuations of coastal areas in both Carolinas and Virginia, the AP reports.

That said, the storm is still expected to stall once it hits the Wilmington coast, with weather officials early Thursday raising the expected total rainfall for Wilmington to 35 inches - weather officials had predicted 30 inches for Wilmington in briefings released Wednesday.

Hurricane Florence's sustained wind speeds have lessened slightly to 105 miles per hour, but the storm is already bringing surges and tropical storm winds to the North Carolina shore, the National Hurricane Center said in an 11 a.m. briefing.

With South Carolina's beach towns more in the bull's-eye because of the shifting forecast, OH tourists Chris and Nicole Roland put off their departure from North Myrtle Beach to get the maximum amount of time on the sand. HO/AFP/Getty Images In this September 12, 2018 photo provided by NASA, hurricane Florence churns over the Atlantic Ocean heading for the US east coast as seen from the International Space Station.

NHC Director Ken Graham said on Facebook the storm surges could push in as far as 2 miles (3 km).


"It's going to be bad", said Woody White, chairman of the New Hanover County Commissioners. Storm surge is why many of you have been placed under evacuation and we are asking citizens to please heed a warning. The eye of that hurricane merely grazed the coast.

People look out over the surf before Hurricane Florence comes ashore on Carolina Beach, North Carolina, Sept. 13, 2018. Thousands of marines and their families evacuated from Camp Lejeune, leaving the rest to dig in ahead of what could be a direct hit.

North and SC and Virginia ordered mass evacuations along the coast.

"I do worry though about people here because many didn't prepare, you know, because originally they didn't think it was going to be so bad here", Sparks said.

About 10 million people are in the sights of the storm as it zeroes in on the Southeastern coast.

Cooper and South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster told more than 1 million people who were directed to leave that if they don't evacuate, no one will come to save them.

Officials in several states have declared states of emergency, including in the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia and Maryland, where coastal areas are still recovering from summer storms. "We'll handle it. We're ready, we're able".

USA television networks said 7pm to 7am curfews had been put in place in several towns surrounding Myrtle Beach.

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