Hurricane Florence closes in on United States east coast

Hurricane Florence churning in the Atlantic Ocean in a west north-westerly direction towards the US East Coast

Hurricane Florence churning in the Atlantic Ocean in a west north-westerly direction towards the US East Coast

With the storm churning 140 miles per hour winds, hurricane watches and warnings include the homes of more than 5.4 million people on the East Coast, many of whom have been advised to evacuate.

The National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said that Florence's maximum sustained winds had eased to 110mph (175kmh) and it had been downgraded to a Category 2 storm from Category 3 on the five-level Saffir-Simpson wind scale.

The likelihood that Florence will pound the coast for days not hours underscored flooding risks from both storm surge and rainfall measured in feet.

So far, it's estimate more than 1.7 million Americans have heeded the warnings about Hurricane Florence.

The most powerful and only Category 4 hurricane in recorded history to hit the North Carolina coast was Hurricane Hazel in October 1954.

Overall, risky storm surge is possible all the way from Edisto Beach, South Carolina, to the North Carolina/Virginia border.

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Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency "in light of the storm's forecasted southward track after making landfall".

Duke Energy, a power company in the Carolinas, estimated that one million to three million customers could lose electricity because of the storm and that it could take weeks to restore. The destructive storm surge will occur as the hurricane's eye comes ashore from Thursday night into Friday, the Weather Channel said, and coastal flooding may persist through multiple high tide cycles into this weekend east of the center of Florence.

Ricardo Olivares, of Wilmington, North Carolina, covers windows at the Mellow Mushroom in Wilmington, North Carolina on September 11, 2018.

"I'm not approaching Florence from fear or panic", said Brad Corpening, 35, who planned to ride out the storm in his boarded-up delicatessen in Wilmington. "We just need to figure out how to make it through".

"I've never seen the president and all these other people talk the way they're talking", he said while waiting for an evacuation bus. "But no matter how bad it's going to be, it will pass and our job will be to rebuild this community together".

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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