Hurricane Florence starts flooding parts of the Carolinas

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

The forecasters say the slow speed will give Florence time to pound the Carolinas with bands of heavy rain.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for north of Duck, NC, to Cape Charles Light, VA, for Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort, and for Edisto Beach, SC, to South Santee River, SC.

The administration said that as Florence, a Category 2 storm, is expected to make landfall in the USA 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.

Areas along the SC coast, including Myrtle Beach, reported power outages Friday morning and early afternoon.

By midnight, areas of coastal North Carolina were experiencing life-threatening storm surge, the National Weather Service said.

The center said the threat of freshwater flooding will increase over the next several days.

At 11:00 pm (0300 GMT), Florence was over the Atlantic Ocean about 60 miles (95 kilometers) east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and moving northwest at six miles per hour, the NHC said. At one rectangular table in the conference room, there were FEMA officials who were tasked with monitoring the state's four nuclear plants in order to certify that will be OK to operate after the storm passes.

Millions of people are in the path of the Category 1 storm which on Thursday evening was moving west at only 6 miles per hour (9 km/h).

Duke Energy, the major power supplier for North and SC, told the New York Times on Wednesday that the storm could knock out power for up to 3 million customers across the two states.

People look out over the surf before Hurricane Florence comes ashore on Carolina Beach, North Carolina on September 13, 2018.

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Forecasters said conditions will only get more lethal as the storm pushes ashore early Friday near the North Carolina-South Carolina border and makes its way slowly inland.

However, some have made a decision to ignore the orders and stay in their residences despite officials warning "this is a powerful storm that can kill".

At least 12,000 people had taken refuge in 126 emergency shelters, Cooper said, with more facilities being opened.

Authorities in New Bern, a town of about 30,000 people that dates to the early 18th century, said more than 100 people had to be saved from floods and that the downtown area was underwater. Heavy rains were forecast to extend into the Appalachian Mountains, affecting parts of Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.

Preparing for the worst, about 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians were deployed with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats that could be used to pluck people from the floodwaters.

The police chief of a barrier island in Florence's bulls'-eye said he was asking for next-of-kin contact information from the few residents who refused to leave.

The city of about 29,000, which was founded in the early 1700s and was briefly the state capital, is near the North Carolina coast and is bordered on the east and south, respectively, by two rivers. Virginia, in fact, has issued mandatory evacuations for coastal areas of the state. "There is overwash but nothing we are not used to", she said.

The police chief of Wrightsville Beach suggested that those who chose to stay give him their next-of-kin contact information.

"If anybody could help. our cars is under water and so is our house". "And we had no belief it would be as significant an event as it was", he said. "We're fully prepared. Food, medical, everything you can imagine, we are ready".

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