Florence weakens to Category 2 hurricane but still life-threatening: NHC

Thousands flee Florence, head to Florida - Story

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles.

When will it make landfall?

A spokesperson for the ABC affiliate said roads around the building were flooding. North Myrtle Beach was almost empty Thursday as the first bands of heavy rain from Hurricane Florence approached.

Video posted on Twitter showed a meteorologist telling viewers about the evacuation before walking off-screen. But still, perhaps just to be safe, he signed a sweeping executive order Wednesday authorizing sanctions on any nation or individual who tries interfere with America's democratic processes.

He warned that Florence could be "one of the biggest ever to hit the East Coast".

They don't retire the name of every hurricane - and there's already a buzz that Florence will join the likes of Hazel (1954), Hugo (1989), Fran (1996) and Isabel (2003), the four most destructive hurricanes to strike the southeastern United States.

SC officials say more than 400,000 people have evacuated the state's coast and more than 4,000 people have taken refuge in shelters as Hurricane Florence approaches. The two-lane highway is the only route to the mainland other than ferries.

But the NHC warned that Florence still poses a deadly threat to a wide stretch of the U.S. Eastern Seaboard, from southern Georgia into southern Virginia, and remained capable of unleashing rain-fuelled catastrophic flooding of rivers and low-lying areas.

Eudy's family has lived in New Bern since the 1850s, he said.

As Florence closed in, President Donald Trump and state and local officials urged residents in the path of the storm to evacuate before it was too late. "We got thrown into mailboxes, houses, trees", said Holt, who had stayed at home because of a doctor's appointment that was later canceled. Parts of North Carolina could get 40 inches (1 meter) of rain.

The centre of the hurricane's eye came ashore at about 7:15 a.m. EDT (1115 GMT) near Wrightsville Beach close to Wilmington, with sustained winds of 90 miles per hour (150 kph), the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

North Carolina utilities estimated that as many as 2.5 million state residents could be left without power, the state's Department of Public Safety said. Maximum sustained winds remain near 90 miles per hour (150 kph) with higher gusts.

"We will continue to do all we can to support our neighbors in the Southeast as we prepare for Hurricane Florence", Scott said in a prepared statement Wednesday.

A family enjoys the surf ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence in Oak Island, North Carolina. He says that "over the years the state government and the federal government have become very coordinated in their ability to manage the pre-deployment of assets (and) the response to the citizens of those states, and we will soon be into the recovery".

The hurricane has torn buildings apart and knocked out power to more than 600,000 homes and businesses.

The hurricane's storm surge - the wall of water it pushed in from the Atlantic - had "overwhelmed" New Bern, a town of about 30,000 people at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said.

Nearly two-thirds of the reported outages originated in Carteret County, along the coast about 100 miles northeast of Wilmington, North Carolina.

There was particular concern about the storm lingering once it nears the coast and moves onshore, allowing it to dump torrential amounts of rain in parts of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

Their entire neighborhood evacuated in Wilmington, North Carolina, David and Janelle Garrigus planned to ride out Florence at their daughter's one-bedroom apartment in Charlotte.

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