Hurricane Florence likely to affect southeast USA energy infrastructure

This image provided by NASA shows Hurricane Florence from the International Space Station on Wednesday Sept. 12 2018.
NASA via AP

The administration said that as Florence, a Category 2 storm, is expected to make landfall in the USA southeast coast on Friday, the massive storm will obstruct electricity transmission and distribution, while widespread evacuations and disruptions to normal business operations could impact demand patterns for transportation fuels.

Millions of people are in the path of the Category 1 storm which on Thursday evening was moving west at only 6 miles per hour (9 km/h).

In this September 12, 2018 photo provided by NASA, hurricane Florence churns over the Atlantic Ocean heading for the USA east coast as seen from the International Space Station.

After the storm makes landfall, it will slow down and begin to crawl to the west and southwest along the coast into SC on Saturday.

A buoy off the North Carolina coast recorded waves almost 30 feet (9 meters) high as Florence churned toward shore.

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

Much of the North Carolina Outer Banks and mainland areas adjacent to Pamlico Sound, Albemarle Sound and Onslow Bay, North Carolina, will be especially hit hard by storm surge, high winds and torrential rain.

"This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding", the NHC said.

The storm knocked out power to more than 890,000 homes and businesses, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks the USA electrical grid.

Several million people could lose power by the time Florence sloshes its way through the state. If it is bowl-shaped, like in Georgia and SC, the surge is deeper, but when it is the opposite shape, like the Outer Banks, it's less so, Needham said. Before, the National Hurricane Center feared that Florence would make landfall as a Category 4 storm.

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People along North Carolina coast share Snapchats of Hurricane Florence
The National Hurricane Center , in its latest advisory, said that Hurricane Florence was about to make landfall in North Carolina. Union Point Park is flooded with rising water from the Neuse and Trent Rivers in New Bern, N.C., September 13, 2018.

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The storm's center was about 50 miles south of Morehead City at around 11 p.m. EST (0300 GMT Friday).

More than 10 million people live in areas under warnings or watches for hurricane- or tropical storm- force winds, CNN reports. Leaders of the states in the path of the storm have warned people all week to evacuate the most susceptible areas.

Bloomberg via Getty Images Shoppers wait in line to be served at the pharmacy of a Walmart Inc. store ahead of Hurricane Florence in Charlotte, North Carolina. She said a hurricane has a way of bringing everyone to the same level.

NHC Director Ken Graham said on Facebook the storm surges could push in as far as 2 miles (3 km).

After spreading rain westward to the southern Appalachians and Piedmont areas, torrential rain is forecast to reach parts of the northeastern USA next week.

With winds picking up along the coastline early 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.

Waves slam the Pier House Restaurant in Atlantic Beach, NC, on Thursday.

Eduardo Munoz / Reuters Docks broken by water from Neuse River. It was downgraded to Category 1 before coming ashore on Friday near Wrightsville Beach close to Wilmington, North Carolina.

Instead, they drove 240km inland to his mother's house in Durham. Officials say people refusing to evacuate could end up alone, drenched and in the dark, as rescue crews won't go out to help in winds above 80 km/h.

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