United States coast battered by wind, rain as Hurricane Florence closes in

Heavy rain, wind gusts and rising floodwaters from Hurricane Florence swamped the Carolinas early on Friday as the massive storm crawled toward the coast, threatening millions of people in its path with record rainfall and punishing surf.

Reports out of Wilmington, North Carolina, said that the outer bands of wind and rain from Florence, a Category 2 storm with 105 miles per hour winds, are hitting North Carolina.

While the storm may have slowed down slightly, it will still bring life-threatening storm surges, high winds, massive flooding and power cuts as it makes landfall on the coast of North and SC. Waves off the shore of North Carolina have already gotten as high as 13 feet, he saYS. The storm surge could rise up to 13 feet - that's water inundating homes up to the first-floor ceiling, the National Hurricane Center said.

The impact is expected to be similar to that of Hurricane Harvey on the Houston area previous year, Feltgen said.

In Carolina Beach, North Carolina, authorities have stopped allowing traffic to the island via the only bridge between the island and the mainland. "The storm surge forecast associated with this storm has not changed".

The eye could reach the North Carolina coast by Friday morning, the Wilmington Star-News reported.

The massive storm will impact millions as it charges toward the southeastern us, and is expected to bring with it massive amounts of rain, risky flooding and powerful storm surges.

Another Wilmington resident said she does not want to leave because she is afraid to see what she would be coming back to.

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"This is no ordinary storm, and people could be without power for a very long time - not days but weeks", a president of one energy company in North Carolina said on Wednesday. "If we lose the house, oh well, we can get housing".

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Centre said the storm would weaken after making landfall but also linger, dumping heavy rains for days.

After that, Florence is forecast to move northwest and north and move across western SC on Sunday, Sept. 15, and across western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee on Monday, Sept. 16, the NHC said.

"But we can't replace us so we made a decision to come here".

"But it could have a positive effect on eastern parts because it could also bring tropical air".

About 1.7 million people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia are under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders and millions of others live in areas likely to be affected by what officials called a "once in a lifetime" storm.

In Wilmington, residents who had decided not to evacuate were lining up to get ice from a vending machine - $2 for a 16-pound (7.2-kilo) bag.

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

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