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Threat becomes reality as Hurricane Florence closes in

Threat becomes reality as Hurricane Florence closes in

Regardless of its intensity at landfall, Florence is a risky hurricane that will cause life-threatening conditions for portions of the Southeast U.S. Residents of the Carolinas should closely follow the National Hurricane Center and local authorities.

People who thought they were relatively safe from the onslaught of Hurricane Florence began boarding up and Georgia's governor declared a state of emergency Wednesday as uncertainty over the path of the monster storm spread worry along the Southeastern coast.

The storm's intensity diminished as it neared land, with winds dropping to around 90 miles per hour by nightfall.

"It truly is really about the whole size of this storm", National Hurricane Centre director Ken Graham said. "We're kind of at the mercy of the storm".

At a separate FEMA press conference, the agency's Associate Administrator for Response and Recovery Jeff Byard said the storm's shift towards the south was not good news for people of the region.

He urged people in the coastal Carolinas and living near inland rivers to evacuate.

"There is still time, but not a lot of time", said Derrec Becker of the South Carolina Department of Emergency Management.

Tropical storm-force winds extended 175 miles (280 kilometers) from Florence's center, and hurricane-force winds reached out 70 miles (110 kilometers). It is expected to move across parts of southeastern North Carolina and eastern SC on Friday and Saturday, then head north over the western Carolinas and central Appalachian Mountains early next week, the NHC said. Then it is likely to hover along the coast on Saturday, pushing up to 13ft of storm surge. This will allow Florence to continually batter the same areas for hours on end and allow storm surge to inundate the coast through multiple high tide cycles.

Kevin Miller, a 50-year-old electrician, said he planned to ride out the storm at his home near Charleston.

Florence also blew down trees, including one that went through the roof of Kevin DiLoreto's home in Wilmington.

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"I'm not going to put our personnel in harm's way, especially for people that we've already told to evacuate", Wrightsville Beach police chief Dan House said.

More than 634,000 homes and businesses were without power in North and SC early on Friday, utility officials said.

"Don't relax; don't get complacent. We ask you to heed the warnings - today is the day".

The NHC said Wednesday further adjustment south of Hurricane's Florence's forecast track could be made in future updates. Winds are dicey at times in Long Island around that timeframe, with New England and the Canadian Maritimes seeing lighter, more favorable winds at times.

More than 1 million people have been ordered to evacuate the coastlines of the Carolinas and Virginia.

Airlines had cancelled almost 1,000 flights and counting.

People across the region rushed to buy bottled water and other supplies, board up their homes or get out of town.

The two hardware chains said they sent a total of around 1,100 trucks.

Duke Energy said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its four million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks.


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