Stare Down from Space into the Churning Maw of Hurricane Florence

Florence’s quiet potential disaster: Hog manure

Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it's unclear how many did. The winds had been as high as 140 miles per hour earlier in the week.

With winds picking up along the coastline earlier Thursday, federal and state officials had issued final appeals to residents to get out of the path of the "once in a lifetime" weather system.

Near the beach in Wilmington, a Waffle House restaurant, part of a chain with a reputation for staying open during disasters, had no plans to close, even if power is lost.

But North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned: "Don't relax, don't get complacent".

Don't relax, don't get complacent.

In Sea Breeze, Roslyn Fleming, 56, made a video of the inlet where her granddaughter was baptised because "I just don't think a lot of this is going to be here" after the storm, she told Reuters news agency.

In its 0600 GMT advisory, the center said Florence was over the Atlantic Ocean about 55km east of Wilmington, North Carolina and moving northwest at 10km per hour. Storm surge is why many of you have been placed under evacuation and we are asking citizens to please heed a warning. "I am frightened about what's coming".

In Wilmington, North Carolina, a steady rain began to fall as gusts of winds intensified, causing trees to sway and stoplights to flicker.

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While hurricane force winds extended 80 miles from the centre of the storm, tropical storm force winds extended up to 195 miles. Toronto saw widespread flooding twice this year when 50 mm of rain dropped in a few minutes.

"The storm surge forecast associated with this storm has not changed". Florence, a storm expected to significantly impact the U.S.

Baltimore County officials said Thursday that they placed emergency personnel on "high alert" should there be flooding and outages, and urged residents to make preparations just in case.

The storm will be a test of President Donald Trump's administration less than two months before elections to determine control of Congress.

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 a year ago. "I've never been one to leave for a storm but this one kind of had me spooked".

General O'Shaughnessy said there were about 7,000 United States military personnel now in place and ready to respond to the storm, along with ships, helicopters, high-wheeled vehicles and other equipment.

One electricity company fears that three-quarters of its four million customers will lose power as a result of the storm, and may not be reconnected for weeks.

The center of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas Wednesday night, and approach the coast of North Carolina or SC in the hurricane warning area on Thursday and Friday, NHC said.

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