Hurricane Florence's onslaught threatens disaster in North Carolina

Florence’s quiet potential disaster: Hog manure

Michael Nelson floats in a boat made from a metal tub and fishing floats after the Neuse River went over its banks and flooded his street during Hurricane Florence in New Bern, N.C., Thursday.

Coastal North Carolina felt the first bite of Hurricane Florence on Thursday as winds began to rise, a prelude to the slow-moving tempest that forecasters warned would cause catastrophic flooding across a wide swath of the USA southeast.

On Thursday evening, Florence's forward movement was just 5mph.

Two women who were riding out the storm dance to the music outside the Barbary Coast bar in downtown Wilmington, N.C., as Hurricane Florence threatens the coast, september 13, 2018.

Cooper said he hopes more shelters will also open today.

Officials found a basketball-sized hole in the hotel wall and other life-threatening damage, with some cinder blocks crumbling and parts of the roof collapsing.

As of 5 a.m., Florence was 25 miles (55 kilometers) east of Wilmington, North Carolina.

The storm will churn very slowly Friday and Saturday, extending the damaging winds and huge amounts of rain that will hit the same areas of North and SC for 24 hours.

Officials in New Hanover County, which includes Wilmington, have stockpiled enough food and water for 60,000 people for four days, along with more than 28,000 tarps.

While more than a third of USA bank branches could feel the brunt of Hurricane Florence, the chances aren't high for many of them - for over 14,000 the probability is less than 5%.

"We're on the wrong side of this storm".

Air Force General Terrence J O'Shaughnessy, head of US Command, said search and rescue is a top priority but that the magnitude of the storm may exceed the ability of rescuers.

According to the National Weather Service, even though Florence is moving swiftly to the northwest, it is believed that the hurricane will stall and meander near the Carolina coast from Thursday night to Saturday.

The administration said that as Florence, a Category 2 storm, is expected to make landfall in the US southeast coast on Friday, the massive storm will obstruct electricity transmission and distribution, while widespread evacuations and disruptions to normal business operations could impact demand patterns for transportation fuels.

Using computer graphics The Weather Channel showed how far inland Hurricane Florence's surge can reach, following low-lying streams.

Florence's top winds were clocked on Thursday evening at 90 miles per hour (150 km/h) as it churned in the Atlantic Ocean, down from a peak of 140 miles per hour (224 km/h) earlier this week when it was classified a Category 4 storm. Emerald Isle is about 84 miles (135 kilometers) north of Wilmington.

The storm's center was about 50 miles south of Morehead City at around 11 p.m. EST (0300 GMT Friday).

After landfall, the storm is expected to linger over the area for a few days, which would result in rising river levels and lakes.

Forecasters expect Florence to hit the Carolinas early in the morning on September 14.

Hurricane Florence's leading edge battered the Carolina coast Thursday, bending trees and shooting frothy sea water over streets on the Outer Banks, as the hulking storm closed in with 100 miles per hour (155 kph) winds for a drenching siege that could last all weekend. They are heeding the warnings to get out of the Carolinas before the storm hits.

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