'Life-threatening' storm Florence starts to lash US

Scenes From The Carolina Coast As Hurricane Florence Surges Ashore

A father in the same home was transported to the hospital.

Two people died in Lenoir County. More than 60 people had to be rescued in another town as a cinderblock motel collapsed at the height of the storm's fury.

Homeless after losing her job at Walmart three months ago, 25-year-old Brittany Jones went to a storm shelter at a high school near Raleigh. About 14,000 people are in shelters, officials said. The number of people still not rescued fell to about 40 by Friday afternoon, according to New Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw.

Hurricane Florence's leading edge battered the Carolina coast Thursday, bending trees and shooting frothy sea water over streets on the Outer Banks, as the hulking storm closed in with 90 miles per hour (135 kph) winds for a drenching siege that could last all weekend.

The eye of Florence directly struck Wrightsville Beach, NC, early Friday.

Hurricane Floyd's wrath impacted the East Coast from Florida to New England.

Around 11 p.m. Friday, Florence was about 15 miles west-northwest of Myrtle Beach, SC, moving west-southwest at 5 mph, packing maximum-sustained winds of 65 mph.

"The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore winds, where the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves, " it said.

Hurricane Florence has started battering Carolinas.

Authorities in North Carolina said almost 814,000 customers were without power. A nuclear power plant in Brunswick, NC, has shut operations. The figure for SC was 170,000 customers.

As of 11 p.m., Florence was centered about 85 miles (135 kilometers) east-southeast of Wilmington, its forward movement slowed to 5 mph (7 kph).

Forecasters said that given the storm's size and sluggish track, it could cause epic damage akin to what the Houston area saw during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago, with floodwaters swamping homes and businesses and washing over industrial waste sites and hog-manure ponds.

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The Hurricane Center predicts risky surf conditions will start to appear along the northern Gulf Coast on Tuesday. The National Weather Service in Tallahassee said: "This is a storm to definitely take very seriously".

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A surge is likely along portions of the SC coast. Hurricanes feed off the heat in the warm surface of the ocean and typically lose power when they hit land.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said 2,600 people were rescued in North Carolina, along with 300 animals, and that the rescues were continuing.

"There is going to be a lot of rain".

"The larger and slower the storm is, the greater the threat and impact, and we have that here", NHC Director Ken Graham said Thursday.

Conditions deteriorated throughout Thursday as wind speeds gradually strengthened in coastal areas.

Parts of the Carolina coast are expecting 20-30 (50-75cm) inches of rain, with isolated regions seeing up to 40in of downpour.

Both North Carolina and SC will feel the brunt of this monstrous storm. The rainfall will produce life-threatening flash flooding.

He said that people living near rivers, streams and lowland areas in the region were most at risk. "And I can not stress enough the importance of adhering to the governor's orders for mandatory evacuation".

Emergency declarations were in force in Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

The White House on Saturday said President Donald Trump had approved making federal funding available in some counties.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for Edisto Beach, SC, to Cape Hatteras, NC, and the Pamlico Sound.

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