Time almost up: Fierce Hurricane Florence aims at Southeast - Story | WFLD

Hurricane Florence impacting flights along East Coast

Gradually, Friday through the weekend (local time), the massive storm - containing a zone of tropical-storm-force winds almost 643km wide - will drift inland, engulfing much of SC and southern North Carolina. Beside inundating the coast with wind-driven storm, Florence could dump 20 to 30 inches (51-76 cm) of rain, with up to 40 inches in parts of North Carolina, the National Hurricane Center predicts.

The storm's center was about 108 miles (173 km) east of Wilmington, North Carolina, at 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT) but already some 19,000 homes and businesses were without power by mid-afternoon in the Carolinas and Virginia.

More than 10 million people live in areas under warnings or watches for hurricane- or tropical storm- force winds, CNN reports.

Heavy bands of rain and tropical storm force winds are sweeping across the barrier islands off North Carolina and along the southeastern coast of the state.

Windows and doors are boarded up in anticipation of the arrival of Hurricane Florence September 12, 2018 in Morehead City, North Carolina.

A camera at the Frying Pan Tower located 34 miles off the coast of Cape Fear, North Carolina has been livestreaming a view of the Atlantic Ocean since May, and is powering through the storm to dutifully record an American flag over the rising waves. "I encourage Georgians to be prepared for the inland effects of the storm as well as the ensuing storm surge in coastal areas". Similar declarations were made earlier in North and South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. Tropical-storm-force winds are between 39 and 73 miles per hour.

Olivia is the first tropical cyclone to make landfall on Maui in modern history, National Weather Service forecasters said. In the case of Hurricane Florence, meteorologists emphasize that its greatest threat will come from storm surge and flooding, not the wind.

The storm's forward motion has slowed 11km/h since Wednesday (local time), which was predicted as the storm nears the coast.

"We're a little anxious about the storm surge so we came down to see what the river is doing now", said Linda Smith, 67, a retired nonprofit director.

The simplest, most common metric for the measurement of a storm's intensity is maximum wind speed, and certainly this matters in terms of pure destructive potential when it comes to, say, losing a roof or propelling debris through the air. The centre is slowing down and is expected to stall and perhaps wander around just off shore on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

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

"The rain's going to be around for a long time", he said.

Mayor Joe Benson said the storm will batter Carolina Beach through two high-tide periods.

"What to do when a hurricane is barreling towards you, school is cancelled for the week, + kids are faaaareaking out?" she wrote on the social media site.

Six feet of storm surge could carry large objects like cars underwater and leave lower levels structures submerged in water, according to Dr Postel.

Duke Energy, the nation's No. 2 power company, said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks.

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