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People travel to northeast OH in effort to escape Hurricane Florence
14 September 2018, 01:11 | Ross Houston
Georgia Declares Emergency as Hurricane Florence Approaches
Florence was downgraded to a Category 1 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale on Thursday evening and was moving west at only 6 miles per hour (9 km/h).
Officials warn of life-threatening storm surges in North and SC as the hurricane moves towards land with maximum sustained wind speeds of 90mph (150 km/h).
The National Weather Service is predicting that the hurricane will blow ashore as early as Friday afternoon along the North Carolina-South Carolina line, then push its rainy way westward, with a potential for catastrophic inland flooding.
In addition, hurricane-strength winds are predicted to batter everything in the storm's path.
Hurricane Florence's sustained wind speeds have lessened slightly to 105 miles per hour, but the storm is already bringing surges and tropical storm winds to the North Carolina shore, the National Hurricane Center said in an 11 a.m. briefing.
Meteorologist Erika Navarro delivered the report for The Weather Channel online, demonstrating the "life-threatening" possible aftermath of Hurricane Florence when it hits the Carolina coast.
A North Carolina city says about 70 people have been rescued from a hotel whose structural integrity is being threatened by Hurricane Florence.
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Isha Renta, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service's Baltimore/Washington forecast office, said while the forecast may look humdrum for the region, "we can not discount" the storm. "The anxiety level has dropped substantially", Epperson said.
The briefing said Florence "is a large hurricane" with hurricane-force winds extending 80 miles from its center and tropical storm-force winds extending 195 miles from the eye of the storm. Home Depot and Lowe's activated emergency response centers to get generators, trash bags and bottled water to stores before and after the storm. But Luettich said it is still not well understood how factors like rain accumulation and land saturation affect river and coastal flooding during major storm events.
Warning of looming storm surges of nine to 12 feet (2.7-3.6 meters), he urged residents to take the storm seriously no matter the category, saying "this is all about the water, anyway".
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. "If I can't get back in a week, after a while they might turn on each other or trash the place".
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools canceled classes Thursday and Friday ahead of Hurricane Florence. "Well, we're about to get punched in the face".
"If we need to re-examine the evacuation, that will be something that we will be looking at between now and tomorrow morning", he said.
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