Farmers Brace For Losses From Florence During Harvest Season

Hurricane Florence closes in on devastating blow to US east coast

It is an extremely, dangerous, life-threatening, historic hurricane, ' said North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper. "There will be disruptions in our services", he said.

Power outages from Florence, which was downgraded to a tropical storm early Friday evening, have topped 700,000 customers.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles (130 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles (315 km).

WILMINGTON (North Carolina) • Hurricane Florence, weakened but still unsafe, crashed into the Carolinas yesterday as a giant, slow-moving storm that stranded residents with flood waters and swamped part of the town of New Bern at the beginning of what could be a days-long deluge. The downtown area was underwater.Calls for help multiplied as the wind picked up and tide rolled in, city public information officer Colleen Roberts said.

President Donald Trump said his administration was "as ready as anybody has ever been" to respond to the storm. "These are folks who are maybe in one-story buildings and they're seeing the floodwaters rise".

Surges could reach 9' to 13' on the southeast North Carolina coast between Cape Fear and Cape Lookout, including the Pamlico and Albemarle sounds and their rivers, and 6' to 9' on the adjacent stretches of coast.

"We hope to have something left when we get home", she said.

Eudy and his family stayed home in New Bern in part to protect their house. That leaves the "spinning wheel" at the hurricane's core stranded, "and it'll just sit there until the weather pattern changes", he said. "This is a 500- or 1,000-year event". His mom remembers Hurricane Hazel, when the water did not rise as high as his fifth step, where it was Thursday night.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com said Florence could dump a staggering 18 trillion gallons (68 trillion liters) of rain over a week on North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland.

North Carolina's governor's office said a third person was killed while plugging in a generator. Numerous evacuees had pets with them. As of Friday morning, Atlantic Beach, a town on the state's Outer Banks barrier islands, already had received 30 inches (76 cm) of rain, the US Geological Service said.

"Protection of life is the absolute highest priority", he added. Trump planned a visit to the region next week.

The hurricane center said Florence will approach the coast Friday and linger for a while before rolling ashore.

The center of Florence, a Category 2 hurricane, will approach the coasts of North and SC on Thursday, the NHC said, adding that it was expected to weaken after it moved inland.

Florence flattened trees, crumbled roads and the assault wasn't anywhere close to being over, with the siege in the Carolinas expected to last all weekend.

About 10 million people could be affected by the storm. Even if you've ridden out storms before, this one is different.

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