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Hurricane Florence makes landfall as torrential rains batter coast

Hurricane Florence makes landfall as torrential rains batter coast

Florence's winds had dropped from a peak of 225km/h to 169km/h by Thursday, reducing the hurricane from a terrifying Category 4 to a 2. "You have the rain, you have the storm surge". Wake County is not yet under a tornado watch, but it will remain under a flash flood watch until 8 p.m. Sunday and a tropical storm warning until further notice.

It has been downgraded to a Category 1 storm, but forecasters say Hurricane Florence is still capable of delivering a lethal punch. "I have never seen a hurricane that is literally going to be with us for two days", he said.

Top winds were holding at 90 miles per hour - that's just a Category 1 hurricane - but some communities were already submerged in more than six feet of water as the storm drenched the coast.

Rain, wind and rising floodwaters from Hurricane Florence swamped the Carolinas early on Friday as the massive storm crawled toward the coast, threatening millions of people with record rainfall and punishing surf.

Florence is expected to strike North Carolina's coast on Friday, then drift southwest before moving inland on Saturday, according to Miami's National Hurricane Center (NHC).

In Carolina Beach, North Carolina, authorities have stopped allowing traffic to the island via the only bridge between the island and the mainland. Its forward movement was 6 miles per hour (9 kph). Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles from its center and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles.

Folks in Charleston, South Carolina, who have chosen not to evacuate, are preparing for a nasty storm that could make landfall right in their backyard.

And as the storm pushes inland, it could dump 6-10 inches as far inland as Charlotte and Raleigh in North Carolina as well as in Roanoke, Virginia, he said.

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Officials found a basketball-sized hole in the hotel wall and other life-threatening damage, with some cinder blocks crumbling and parts of the roof collapsing.

None of the people rescued were injured.

Emergency response teams have been "fully pre-positioned" to help local governments and companies like utilities cope with the damage Florence will leave, Long said - but the storm has to leave. City spokeswoman Colleen Roberts tells WRAL-TV that 200 people have already been rescued.

Meteorologists at the National Weather Service's Wilmington office are waiting for the National Hurricane Center to confirm the track of the eyeball, which typically has the storm's strongest winds.

Preceded first by the storm surge and the winds, heavy rains were picking up as of late Thursday afternoon, the beginning of an onslaught that for some areas may not relent for days.

Outside of the wind, the broad circulation of the storm will allow for a storm surge north of the center of circulation heading into Friday.

In addition, hurricane-strength winds are predicted to batter everything in the storm's path. Other areas can expect the surge to be taller than the average person - almost 6 feet (2 meters) or higher.


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