More than 80,000 without power in North Carolina as Florence moves closer

1 Hurricane Florence Could Bring Up To 30 Inches Of Rain To Carolinas

More than 420,000 people had evacuated their homes by Thursday afternoon, McMaster said. Pieces of buildings ripped apart by the storm flew through the air.

At the nearby Arthur Christian Church, Booker reports, about 20 people were praying together as the storm barreled toward the Carolinas. The father of the child was transported to a nearby hospital with injuries.

With more than 1,500 commercial airline flights in and out of the Carolinas canceled - and potentially many more to come - even the skies above sat empty, except for Florence's foreboding cloud cover and rapidly strengthening rain.

Florence, though downgraded to a Category 2 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, remained risky and unpredictable, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

Coastal streets flowed with frothy ocean water and tens of thousands lost electricity.

Long said the danger was not only along the coast.

The outer reaches of Hurricane Florence began lashing coastal North Carolina with heavy winds and flooded roads on Thursday ahead of an expected landfall that will bring walls of water and lingering downpours.

Florence is moving toward the northwest near 10 miles per hour. That same area experienced unsafe flooding after Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

Will Epperson, a 36-year-old golf course assistant superintendent, said he and his wife had planned to ride out the storm at their home in Hampstead, North Carolina, but then reconsidered.

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

Panovich: The thing about hurricanes is the number one killer is storm surge and water. Another 4,300 people were in 61 shelters in SC, officials said.

Prisoners were affected, too.

Wild horses in the Rachel Carson Reserve in Beaufort, North Carolina will fend for themselves during Hurricane Florence.

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Over 1.5 million people have been evacuated from the coast. Florence is still a Category 2 hurricane.

Spanish moss waved in the trees as the winds picked up in Wilmington, and floating docks bounced atop swells at Morehead City.

Memorial University Medical Center received nine patients from other HCA facilities in SC and eight from Coastal Carolina Hospital in Hardeeville, Memorial spokesman Dale Hooks wrote in an email.

The hurricane is now 110 miles ESE of Wilmington, North Carolina and is moving toward the northwest at 10 mph. Overall, the storm is 400 miles wide.

Florence is expected to start causing havoc over North and SC today.

"More significant weakening is expected over the weekend and into early next week while Florence moves further inland".

Florence is now a Category 1 storm with a 10-foot storm surge, according to the National Weather Service. The tropical storm force winds now extend out 195 miles.

"I just don't want to leave and take a chance and not be able to get back in", Green said. After criticism for its response in Puerto Rico to last year's Hurricane Maria, which officials there said was responsible for 3,000 deaths, Trump has vowed a vigorous response to Florence and defended his handling of Maria. In some counties, almost 1 in 3 people live below the poverty line.

"We'll operate without power; we have candles".

Wilmington resident Julie Terrell said she was concerned after walking to breakfast past a row of shops fortified with boards, sandbags and hurricane shutters.

Others were at home hoping for the best.

"It doesn't matter how much money you have or how many generators you have if you can't get gas", she said.

"Since my husband retired and my health declined, we have his retirement as an income. We chose to hunker down". "Today the threat becomes a reality", according to The Associated Press.

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