Wrightsville Beach 12 brace for Florence to fully make landfall

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Hurricane Florence remains on track to bring life-threatening storm surge and rainfall to coastal North and SC, the National Weather Service says.

Florence's winds weakened as it drew closer to land, dropping from a peak of 140 miles per hour (225 kph) earlier in the week, and the hurricane was downgraded from a terrifying Category 4 to a 2.

Florence, set to make landfall on Friday, was expected to cover nearly all of North Carolina in several feet of water, State Governor Roy Cooper told reporters.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference that the "historic" hurricane would unleash rains and floods that would inundate nearly the entire state in several feet of water.

Florence is forecast to move slowly over the Carolinas after making landfall Thursday night or Friday, according to the National Hurricane Center. "All across the state of North Carolina and portions of SC, there will be extreme flooding or major flooding at least for a number of days to come". A few hearty locals gathered at Cape Fear Wine and Beer pub in downtown Wilmington.

Even when the water is at six feet and over her head, Navarro says that she would not be able to stand and that there are likely dangers such as chemicals or exposed power lines in the water. "We've prepared all our supplies at home and frankly, we were bored". Nevertheless, North Carolina's Republican-controlled legislature listened to coastal developers and passed a law in 2012 requiring state scientists and regulators to consider climate-change skeptics in sea level rise projections for development and infrastructure planning. "We can not underestimate this storm".


Another Wilmington resident said she does not want to leave because she is afraid to see what she would be coming back to.

And when it comes to impacts like storm surge, size matters just as much as the winds, says Rick Luettich, a coastal physical oceanographer at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill's Institute of Marine Sciences. Utility companies said millions were expected to lose power and restoring it could take weeks. The storm was moving west-northwest at 10 miles per hour with winds that have decreased significantly to 100 miles per hour.

About 1.7 million people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia have been put under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders to avoid what emergency officials called a "once in a lifetime" storm.

At least 12,000 people had taken refuge in 126 emergency shelters with more facilities being opened. Heavy rains were forecast to extend into the Appalachian mountains, affecting parts of Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.

A state of emergency has been declared in five coastal states - North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland and Virginia - as well as the USA capital Washington.

With winds picking up along the coastline early Thursday, federal and state officials had issued final appeals to residents to get out of the path of the "once in a lifetime" weather system. Low-income residents and the elderly face disproportionate consequences from lack of food and water, loss of electricity, and other elements indirectly and directly attributable to a hurricane.

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