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More than 400k evacuate SC as Florence approaches

More than 400k evacuate SC as Florence approaches

"I was just kind of planning to leave on Sunday evening, but it looked a little risky and I got kind of fortunate that work was canceled", said one passenger departing Charlotte Thursday. "We are going to be very very very limited in terms of responding". There is a chance some of that tropical rainfall could pass through portions of the Northeast next Tuesday or Wednesday before we can finally say good riddance to Florence for good.

Meanwhile, lane reversals on US 501 ended at noon and reversals on I-26 end Thursday night, allowing state police and transportation workers to get to a safe location before the storm hits. One moment, it's going to be real bad; next moment, it's slowing down.

Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane a few miles east of Wilmington, as the center of its eye moved onshore near Wrightsville Beach, the National Hurricane Center said.

There are dozens of permitted hog farms in North Carolina, most of which are close enough to the coast they could experience flooding.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Centre warned that Florence remained deadly because of its size and slow forward speed, even if its top sustained winds have dropped it to Category 2 status as a hurricane. "Today the threat becomes a reality", he said. As many as 100,000 people may need emergency shelter. Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire.

With forecasters anxious about a repeat of Hurricane Harvey, which inundated Houston with floodwater past year, NHC Director Ken Graham explained to the Associated Press: "It truly is really about the whole size of this storm".

Why isn't the downgraded storm less of a threat?

There are fears that this storm could cause damage similar to what Houston suffered during Hurricane Harvey previous year, when homes and businesses were inundated with floodwater.

Hurricane Florence is beginning to bear down on the Carolinas with heavy winds and rising tides.

Around midday, Spanish moss blew sideways in the trees as the winds increased in Wilmington, and floating docks bounced atop swells at Morehead City.

Wilmington resident Julie Terrell was plenty concerned after walking to breakfast past a row of shops fortified with boards, sandbags and hurricane shutters.

"We immediately gave up our hotel rooms so that more rooms are now available to those coming inland", Hunt said.

This is why you don't mess with Mother Nature. That's enough to fill the Chesapeake Bay or cover the entire state of Texas with almost 4 inches (10 centimeters) of water, he calculated.

Almost 1.7m people along the coastlines of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia have been ordered to evacuate.

"Help has arrived, help is here", said lineman Abel Hernandez from Florida Power and Light.

As of 10:30 p.m. ET, more than 140,000customers along the coast were without power, according to outage maps from Duke Energy and the N.C. Hurricane-force winds extended 90 miles (150 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles (315 kilometers). Late-afternoon wind gusts on the North Carolina coast were over 70mph.

Scientists said it is too soon to say what role, if any, global warming played in the storm.

The relationship between climate change and hurricanes is a complex one. According to Fire Chief Glen Rogers, there are in fact only 12 people left on the beach to sit out the storm.

"If you're going to leave. you should leave now because time is running out", McMaster said on Thursday. "I've got four cats inside the house. If you're in a low-lying area, get out", Mac Hodges, the mayor of the town of Washington, told NPR's Brakkton Booker.

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