How Hurricanes like Florence Impact Consumer Spending

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When all is said and done, Florence could pour 40 inches of rain along some parts of the North Carolina coast, according to CNN.

Tom Ballance said his wife went to Atlanta and he stayed behind in their New Bern home with their three dogs and a cat. Utility companies said millions were expected to lose power and that restoring it could take weeks. We know it has forced the cancellation of almost 1,800 flights, with more to come, and that it has already caused serious flooding in coastal areas.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com said Florence could dump a staggering 18 trillion gallons of rain over a week on North Carolina, South Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland.

Winds have dropped to about 144km/h but North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said the worst of the storm was yet to come.

As Hurricane Florence makes landfall in the Carolinas, U.S. President Donald Trump Friday tweeted his support for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), first responders and law enforcement, stating that they are doing an "incredible job".

Florence has been downgraded to a Category 1 storm, but forecasters say it is still capable of delivering a lethal punch.

Still, he said: "I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth".

Hurricane Florence weakened into a Category 2 hurricane as it moved towards east coast of the United States, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Wednesday, but a life-threatening storm surge and heavy rainfall were still expected.

"We know we're in for a long haul here", Cooper said of predictions that the storm will linger over the area.

At 9 a.m., the center of Florence was wobbling about 20 miles (30 kilometers) southwest of Wilmington, its winds down to 85 mph (140 kmh), according to the hurricane center.

The Miami-based center says the center of the eye moved ashore with top sustained winds of 90 miles per hour, making Florence a Category 1 hurricane in terms of wind intensity. Calls for help kept coming in as the wind picked up and the tide arrived, said city public information officer Colleen Roberts.

Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire.

The impact of Florence will be widespread, with destructive winds, life-threatening storm surge, risky surf, torrential rainfall, flooding and the potential for tornadoes.

Farther up the coast, in New Bern, about 150 people waited to be rescued from flooding on the Neuse River, WXII-TV reported.

The hurricane was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico previous year.

More than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and state of Virginia had been urged to evacuate. More than 3,000 inmates at North Carolina prisons and juvenile detention centers were moved out of the storm's path. She said a hurricane has a way of bringing everyone to the same level.

Hurricane-force winds now extend up to 80 miles and tropical-storm-force winds extend up to 195 miles from the center of the storm.

Officials in New Hanover County, which includes Wilmington, have stockpiled enough food and water for 60,000 people for four days, along with more than 28,000 tarps.

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