Hurricane Florence begins to batter USA east coast

A storm front passes homes in North Topsail Beach N.C. prior to Hurricane Florence moving toward the east coast on Wednesday Sept. 12 2018

The storm's intensity diminished as it neared land, with winds dropping to around 90 miles per hour (144 kph) by nightfall.

It was set to inundate nearly all of North Carolina in several feet of water, State Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference, while National Weather Service forecaster Brandon Locklear predicted up to eight months of rain in two or three days. Storm surge is why many of you have been placed under evacuation and we are asking citizens to please heed a warning. "Surviving this storm will be a test of endurance, teamwork, common sense and patience".

Governor Roy Cooper requested the added disaster declaration on Thursday (local time) because he anticipates what his office calls "historic major damage" across the state from the hurricane.

While the storm may have slowed down slightly, it will still bring life-threatening storm surges, high winds, massive flooding and power cuts as it makes landfall on the coast of North and SC.

About 400 Virginians are in shelters, Stern estimated.

Prisoners were affected, too.

FEMA's Long warned the danger was not only along the coast: "Inland flooding kills a lot of people, unfortunately, and that's what we're about to see", he said. As serene as the images are, it's hard to imagine what conditions are like in the storm and on the water under it. Waves crashing well beyond the pier.

Forecasters' European climate model is predicting two trillion to 11 trillion gallons of rain will fall on North Carolina over the next week, according to meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com.

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A buoy off the North Carolina coast recorded waves almost 30 feet high as Florence churned toward shore.

The massive cyclone was expected to make landfall on the North Carolina coast Friday, bringing "life-threatening" storm surge and flash flooding while slowly drifting over SC through Saturday.

Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters said Florence eventually could strike as merely a Category 1 hurricane with winds less than 100 miles per hour (160 kph), but that's still enough to cause at least $1 billion in damage.

Additionally, the National Hurricane Center has not changed its forecast for the storm surge - with up to 13 feet possible - or rainfall - with up to 40 inches dumped in some spots.

"Either no (hotel) rooms are available, or we are denied because the breed or size of dogs", she said.

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

Sixteen kilometres away in the city of Wilmington, wind gusts were stirring up frothy white caps into the Cape Fear River.

"We'll operate without power; we have candles. You go the other direction east toward Atlantic Beach - it's all dark". "We're watching how it tracks when it comes inland".

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