Hurricane Florence downgraded to Category 1 storm

This image provided by NASA shows Hurricane Florence from the International Space Station on Wednesday Sept. 12 2018.
NASA via AP

An investigation is underway, but officials said it appears there's no reason for others at the shelter to worry.

State Transportation Department Secretary Christy Hall said Thursday that an estimated 421,000 residents had left the coast.

At 2 a.m. Friday, the city tweeted an ominous message, saying at least 150 people were awaiting rescue.

The National Hurricane Center says "a life-threatening storm surge is now likely" along the North and SC coasts as Hurricane Florence approaches the US eastern seaboard.

Across the Carolinas at least 188,000 people were without power early on Friday.

The storm had 100 miles per hour winds and is a Category 2 hurricane.

As of 2 a.m., Florence was centered about 35 miles (55 kilometers) east of Wilmington, North Carolina.

However, the surge is expected to be accompanied by large and destructive waves, regardless of when the storm arrives.

Some areas along the North Carolina coastline could get up to 40 or 45 inches of rain. Charleston, S.C., could see more water than it did during last year's Tropical Storm Irma if the hurricane stalls as it hits land and pushes additional water onto the coast. A nuclear power plant in Brunswick, NC, has shut operations.

Combined with the predicted rainfall, it's possible that flooding damages will pose as the greatest risk during Hurricane Florence's reign.

Does it matter that Florence is moving slowly?

Home Depot and Lowe's activated emergency response centres to get generators, trash bags and bottled water to stores before and after the storm.

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Merrimack College, a private Catholic school in North Andover, instructed its staff and students to evacuate "immediately". As for criticism, he said the company has been "using all our resources. we want to restore service to all our customers".

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Some areas also saw the first of the hurricane-force winds.

The exact track, overall size and forward speed of the storm will determine which locations along the coast receive the worst of Florence's damaging winds, heavy rain and storm surge flooding.

"There is going to be a lot of rain".

"For our customers, I know they normally expect to see us immediately after the storm rolls through, but it's not safe for us to be out there working", he said.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster ordered the closure of schools in 18 counties earlier in the week. The rainfall will produce life-threatening flash flooding in Virginia and the Carolinas.

As the Carolinas braced for the storm Thursday, roads and tourist shops were closed, regional flights were canceled and residents who didn't evacuate were working to protect their property against the severe weather ahead.

Tropical Storm Florence trudged inland on Saturday, flooding rivers and towns, toppling trees and cutting power to almost a million homes and businesses as it dumped huge amounts of rain on North and SC, where five people have died. "And I can not stress enough the importance of adhering to the governor's orders for mandatory evacuation".

Officials in several states have declared states of emergency, including in the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia and Maryland, where coastal areas are still recovering from summer storms.

He said hurricane-force winds extended outward 80 miles from the center of the storm and tropical storm-force winds extended almost 200 miles out.

The state's officials say more than 400,000 people have evacuated the coast and more than 4000 people have taken refuge in shelters as the storm approaches. The vivid presentation - powered by the Unreal Engine, most commonly used in video games - seems likely to serve as a more pressing demonstration of the storm's threat than a mere written warning, and that's vitally important for folks in impacted areas.

"Tropical storm conditions are expected to spread inland across the remainder of the warning area through Saturday", the NHC said.

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