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US coast battered by wind, rain as Hurricane Florence closes in

US coast battered by wind, rain as Hurricane Florence closes in

Hurricane-force winds began whipping North Carolina as federal emergency management officials warned that the hurricane remained a "very risky storm" capable of wreaking havoc along a wide swathe of the coast. Its maximum sustained winds dropped slightly from 110 miles per hour earlier Thursday to 105 miles per hour, but the storm remains a Category 2 hurricane that is expected to cause widespread catastrophic damage.

Storm surges are not included in the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale which categorises hurricanes, the category of the hurricane does not correlate with the level of storm surge.

Inland flooding near New Bern, North Carolina caused by Hurricane Florence's storm surge as predicted by the ADCIRC computer model.

The National Hurricane Center's best guess was that Florence's eye would blow ashore as early as Friday afternoon around the North Carolina-South Carolina line.

The first large power outage in the Wilmington area also occurred Thursday morning, with the Duke outage map showing almost 1,400 customers in the Acme-Delco area of Columbus County and northwest Brunswick County without power.

Time is running short to flee Hurricane Florence, a monster of a storm zeroing in on the Southeastern coast with more than 10 million people in its potentially devastating sights. The storm's slowing forward movement and heavy rains had Gov. Roy Cooper warning of an impending disaster. "Until we can't. See what happens".

"I came back two days early because I figured they'd be closing the airport and we received a message from American Airlines, saying that the travel could very well be interrupted, so I chose to come back early rather than deal with, you know, getting stuck at the airport or something like that", Klimas said. Flash flooding is going to be a big issue soon - certainly catastrophic.

As of 8 a.m. ET, the National Hurricane Center said Florence was centered about 170 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 220 miles east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

The outer reaches of Hurricane Florence began lashing coastal North Carolina with heavy winds and flooded roads on Thursday ahead of an expected landfall that will bring walls of water and lingering downpours to parts of the US East Coast. As the recovery from past storms continues in many rural towns, the next storm is about to strike. If you're anywhere near the affected regions or have loved ones in the deadly Category 2 storm's path, make sure to keep track of what government and other storm trackers are advising. "Significant river flooding is expected as a result of excessive rainfall across area hydrologic basins".

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

"This is a life-threatening situation".

- High winds and floodwaters could knock power out for several days, if not longer, officials said. More flights were expected to be grounded and more airports were preparing to shut down operations as the storm moves inland.

On Tuesday, McMaster lifted the evacuation order for three counties in the lower part of the state.

Read Thursday morning's traffic update here.

Inmates at the Al Cannon Detention Center in Charleston County and the Berkeley County Detention Center will not be moved elsewhere, according to Buzzfeed News.

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