People are having ‘hurricane parties’ to distract themselves from Florence

Hurricane Florence impacting flights along East Coast

Florence, one of the strongest storms on the Eastern Seaboard in decades, is a strong Category 2 hurricane with winds of 110 miles per hour.

Outer bands from the hurricane were lashing land on Thursday, at least a full day before the National Hurricane Center expects the slow-moving storm's eye to blow ashore around the North Carolina-South Carolina line.

Hurricane Florence, now a Category 2 storm, is slowly approaching the US coast, and the storm's massive fury is on full display in video footage taken from the International Space Station. Tornadoes are possible Thursday in eastern North Carolina.

The hurricane brings "an impact that can potentially put your life at risk, so you need to plan for it", Cline said.

A power outage model run at the University of MI projects that 3.2 million customers will be without electricity because of the storm, mostly in the eastern half of North Carolina.

Duke Energy, the nation's No. 2 power company, said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks. Hurricane-force winds extended nearly 80 miles from the center, and Florence was poised to bring havoc well before making landfall.

The News & Observer reports that the storm's path shifted early Wednesday and it is now bearing down on southern North Carolina and northern SC, where it could dump up to 40 inches of rain in places.

Of course, stately as Florence's eye may look in these pictures, NOAA video reminds us that it's a churning place of tremendous latent power.

Instead of pushing directly towards states like West Virgina, Kentucky, or IN (following a generally northwest track from its initial landfall), Florence may now stall out on top of SC before moving west or southwest towards Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. But authorities warned it will still be an extremely risky hurricane.

"Just because the wind speeds came down, the intensity of this storm came down to a Category 2, please do not let your guard down", said FEMA Administrator Brock Long. "It's going to happen".

"We live in a mobile home so we were just like 'No way, '" she said.

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. Poor people are less likely to evacuate since they can't afford to travel and stay in other regions.

Wind and the tidal surge will be the biggest issues for airports in the coastal Carolinas, FlightAware's Orsi said. "But no matter how bad it's going to be, it will pass and our job will be to rebuild this community together, and that's what we're going to do".

SC officials say more than 400,000 people have evacuated the state's coast and more than 4,000 people have taken refuge in shelters as Hurricane Florence approaches. REUTERS/Randall HillGordon Roberts works to prepare his oceanfront home ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, U.S. September 12, 2018.

As the storm continues to track toward western North Carolina and upstate SC, heavy rains in the mountains could trigger mudslides due to the region's topography, Cline added.

In South Carolina, governor Henry McMaster said more than 300,000 people had fled the storm, urging residents living in low-lying areas to evacuate, even if they are not in a mandatory evacuation zone. "That means warmer air and warmer water can lead to larger, more intense hurricanes, which in turn lead to more rainfall".

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