Rain and wind from Hurricane Florence begin lashing United States coast

Hurricane Florence

One was killed when connecting an electrical generator, and family members say another man was killed in a wind-related death when checking on dogs outside his property.

The monster storm - which briefly flirted with category five status on its march across the Atlantic - was located roughly 170 miles southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina as of 8:00 a.m. EDT Thursday.

"We can't get a bucket truck out there when tropical storm winds are still blowing", she said.

The centre of Florence is expected to hit North Carolina's southern coast on Friday, then drift southwest before moving inland on Saturday, enough time to drop feet of rain, according to the National Hurricane Centre. It's moving toward the coast at a speed of 12mph.

A storm surge warning is in effect for South Santee River in SC to Duck in North Carolina, and a warning was in effect for Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, including the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers.

"The traffic control points or lane reversals are still in effect", said Joseph Hill, police chief in Horry County, S.C., at a news conference Wednesday in Myrtle Beach.

United States television networks said 7pm to 7am curfews had been put in place in several towns surrounding Myrtle Beach.

The hurricane centre's best guess was that Florence's eye would blow ashore as early as Friday afternoon around the North Carolina-South Carolina border.

But Hill said many residents still remained in their homes, possibly hoping to ride out the hurricane.

But forecasters warned that the widening storm - and the likelihood of it lingering around the coast for days - would bring seawater surging on to land and torrential downpours.

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"This rainfall would produce catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding", the NHC said. US President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed declarations of emergency for North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, freeing up federal resources for storm response.

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

Four electric linemen from Naperville's Department of Public Utilities will take time off their duties in the city to work with electrical contractors after the storm arrives, said Linda LaCloche, spokeswoman for the city of Naperville.

"Catastrophic effects will be felt outside the center of the storm due to storm surge as high as 9 to 13 feet".

More than ten million people are under storm watches and warnings this morning. The center is now about 100 miles from North Carolina.

A state of emergency has been declared in five coastal states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland and Virginia and the U.S. capital Washington.

He warned residents to be prepared for mass power outages that could last for days or weeks, echoing the sentiments shared by Duke Energy on Wednesday.

"We'll operate without power; we have candles".

Not everybody was heeding orders to evacuate, however.

Holly Waters, a retired special education teacher from Wilmington, said she was happy to have a place to go to relax before the storm worsened. The rest sleep on the street or wherever else they can find shelter, he said. "Having worked directly with him for over a year, I know administrator Long to be an experienced and respected emergency manager". In New Bern, on the Neuse River, a CNN team had to keep shifting position in a park as the water kept rising until it was too unsafe to stay in the area. "We'll handle it. We're ready, we're able. We've already got ice; the cooler's packed".

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