Bracing for Hurricane Florence | Don't Miss This

Sand bags surround homes on North Topsail Beach N.C. Wednesday Sept. 12 2018 as Hurricane Florence threatens the coast

NOAA's latest report on Hurricane Florence places the centre of the weather system about 20 miles southwest of Wilmington, North Carolina and 55 miles east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

The NHC notes that amount of rainfall would "produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding".

All of the areas where calls for help have come were under mandatory evacuation orders beginning at 2 p.m. on Tuesday.

North Carolina's governor, Roy Cooper, said Florence was set to cover nearly all of the state in several feet of water.

More than 370,000 people were without power in North Carolina early on Friday, state officials said. As the recovery from past storms continues in many rural towns, the next storm is about to strike. More are expected, as the storm could bring winds up to 45 miles per hour around the area, according to Durham County emergency management officials. Hurricane-force winds were extending out up to 80 miles from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extended up to 195 miles, the center said.

Florence was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared a year ago for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, where the storm was blamed for almost 3,000 deaths in the desperate aftermath. Officials say more than 100 people have already been rescued in the area overnight. "People think we're taking animals that have been stranded from the storm".

National Weather Service forecaster Brandon Locklear predicted Florence would drop up to eight months of rain in two or three days.

Bertha Bradley said she has never favored evacuating ahead of hurricanes.

"The water kept rising and kept rising", he said.

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Those living on the U.S. east coast have been boarding up their properties, stockpiling supplies and some have left their homes as the Category 2 storm heads toward land.

The worst may come as the gargantuan storm swirls past the shore and dumps days of rain on mountainous interiors, potentially creating disastrous mudslides.

An estimated 3 million people across the Carolinas could be without power before long, and the lights may be out for weeks in some areas, said the region's largest provider, Duke Energy.

On social media, people caught in the storm are posting dramatic videos of flooding and high winds.

Florence's weakening as it neared the coast created tension between some who left home and authorities who anxious that the storm could still be deadly.

"We already bought candles, batteries, can food items, water and so on".

"It's a real interesting piece of nature to have the eye of the storm be right in the midst of all the chaos we saw, and now we've got this break", Flock said.

The police chief of Wrightsville Beach, vulnerable on a North Carolina barrier island, agreed that those who refused to leave were now on their own. "We were able to evacuate quite a few; some did not go", he said.

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