Hurricane Florence begins to batter U.S. east coast

Traffic moves west on all lanes of I-26 Tuesday Sept. 11 2018 in Columbia S.C

Traffic moves west on all lanes of I-26 Tuesday Sept. 11 2018 in Columbia S.C

The outer bands of Hurricane Florence drenched the Carolinas on Thursday, flooding roads, gorging rivers and knocking out power in an ominous glimpse of the damage the storm could inflict when it makes landfall on Friday with millions of people in its path. With Hurricane Florence set to wallop the area as a Category 4 hurricane, there are fears the ponds could overflow or even collapse amid extremely heavy rain, sending vast amounts of manure from thousands of farms into rivers and contaminating groundwater.

Florence, which is now a slow-moving Category 2 storm, is expected to linger over the Carolinas before turning north and sliding into western Virginia.

Hurricane Florence's eye was slightly more than 100 miles from Wilmington, according to a 2 p.m. briefing by the National Hurricane Center.

The downgraded status of the storm, which indicates that Hurricane Florence is moving at maximum sustained wind speeds of 110 miles per hour, means little in terms of its impact and deadly potential, according to Elliot Abrams, chief forecaster at Accuweather.

"Little change in strength is expected before the center reaches the coast, with weakening expected after the center moves inland", the National Hurricane Center said. Residents should expect to see higher tides than usual on the James and York rivers, as well as possible flooding and beach erosion.

There are generally three components to a hurricane; strong winds, storm surge and heavy rain. That forecast area also includes part of southwest Virginia.

Computer simulations - especially the often star-performing European model - push the storm further south, even into SC and Georgia.

"The limited number of hubs being impacted by Florence will likely limit the scale of disruption that cascades through the national air travel system", FlightAware said in its noon report.

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Brock, meanwhile, said the surges "are going to be a major problem way up into the streams and tributaries that come out of sound areas". Storm surge is why many of you have been placed under evacuation and we are asking citizens to please heed a warning. REUTERS/Chris KeanePeople walk past a boarded up building before Hurricane Florence comes ashore in Carolina Beach, North Carolina, U.S., September 12, 2018.

"This is a no-kidding nightmare coming for you", he added.

Her friend Kate is refusing to evacuate as well because of "the idea of having to leave with my two cats and go somewhere for a week or more".

He said: 'If you're going to leave - and you should leave - if you haven't left yet, you should leave now.

About 10 million people live in areas that have been under either hurricane or tropical storm warnings and watches.

Schools and businesses closed as far south as Georgia, airlines canceled about 1,200 flights and counting, and coastal towns in the Carolinas were largely emptied out.

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that protecting lives is his "absolute highest priority". "We're fully prepared. Food, medical, everything you can imagine, we are ready".

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