Hurricane Florence begins to batter USA east coast

A now weakened Category 2 storm, Hurricane Florence still is expected to be "extremely dangerous" and a "life-threatening hurricane" the National Hurricane Center said.

Hurricane Florence carries a heavy risk of flash floods as it brings up to 13-foot storm surge and a possible 40 inches of rain to the Carolina coast. As of 8 a.m., the hurricane is predicted to make landfall along the coast of the Carolinas tomorrow (Sept. 14), according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Hurricane Center. More than one million people had been ordered to evacuate the coasts of North and SC and Virginia and thousands moved to emergency shelters, officials said.

North Carolina will see up to eight months of rain in a two- to three-day period, National Weather Service forecaster Brandon Locklear said in a video briefing.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has set up a website to quash rumours that animals and pets are allowed at emergency shelters.

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

Almost 2 million coastal residents are now under mandatory evacuation orders, although it remains unclear how many have actually done so. "Several million will probably lose power". Spokesman Howard Fowler said restoration could take "weeks instead of days", even though 20,000 workers, including crews from outside the area, were standing by.

Gerst said Hurricane Florence was so enormous, with a width of more than 500 miles (804 kilometres), that he "could only capture her with a super wide-angle lens". REUTERS/Chris KeanePeople walk past a boarded up building before Hurricane Florence comes ashore in Carolina Beach, North Carolina, U.S., September 12, 2018.

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Industrial waste, including toxic ash from power plants, could also be spread by flooding from the massive storm, which has caused mandatory evacuations of coastal areas in both Carolinas and Virginia, the AP reports. "It's going to happen". "We've just never seen anything like this".

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. Other residents have told CNN they're not evacuating because emergency shelters won't accept pets.

"It's going to be bad", said Woody White, chairman of the New Hanover County Commissioners.

The Category 2 storm was churning 110 miles southeast of Wilmington with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph.

Forecasters are calling Hurricane Florence a "generational storm".

This morning, the radar loop out of Morehead North Carolina is beginning to show those fans of heavy rain closing in on the coast.

The coastal area of SC features hundreds of inlets while North Carolina has barrier islands miles away from the mainland. Her team manages 32 wild horses living in the Rachel Carson Reserve near Beaufort, North Carolina.

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