Weakening Hurricane Florence nears N.C. coast, to produce ‘life-threatening’ conditions

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The outer bands of the storm were already reaching the coast Thursday, bringing tropical-force winds and rain.

For 62 years, Robert Faircloth has lived in Wilmington, North Carolina. "You will have a compounding effect of storm surge and the waves that will probably be quite devastating to the coastal communities", Ginis said.

"Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles (110 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km)".

"It's going to coming roaring up to the coast Thursday night and say 'I'm not sure I really want to do this and I'll just take a tour of the coast and decide where I want to go inland,"' said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the private Weather Underground.

Across the Carolinas, Virginia and Georgia, businesses are bracing for the economic damage Hurricane Florence is expected to inflict on the area.

"Hurricane Florence is a massive storm that's going to require a massive response", said Tim Pettit, a Duke Energy spokesperson.

Storm surge has accounted for about half of the deaths in hurricanes since 1970, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The storm is now barrelling along at 17 miles per hour, but is expected to slow significantly, which will allow strengthening and a prolonged period of lingering overland, which could see serious devastation. Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storms aftermath, it said.

Officials say Hurricane Florence could bring not only flooding but also landslides to SC.

Power utilities in Florence's path say they have pre-positioned workers and extra equipment throughout North and SC. Then, it likely will hover along the coast Saturday, pushing up to 13 feet of storm surge and dumping 20-30 inches of rain on both states before slogging over the Appalachian Mountains.

Deadly winds high tides and floods US East Coast braces for Hurricane Florence
A man runs past a mandatory evacuation sign before Hurricane Florence comes ashore in Wrightsville Beach North Carolina

Brian McNoldy is a hurricane researcher at the University of Miami.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issued a mandatory state evacuation for the barrier islands of North Carolina.

More significant weakening is expected over the weekend and into early next week while Florence moves farther inland. "We've just never seen anything like this".

In Nags Head, N.C., the mayor, Ben Cahoon, said he and his wife had made a decision to stay despite mandatory evacuation orders - one from the state and one locally that he helped put in place. "If they're telling you to leave, you have to leave", Graham said.

The shopping list for people who have chose to ride out the storm at home: plywood to board up their windows, sandbags, bilge pumps, generators, trash bags, potato chips, bottled water and wine.

As the United States dealt with Florence, a strong typhoon tore across the northern tip of the Philippines, wrecking homes and triggering landslides before heading toward Hong Kong and China. "We're able", he said.

Emergency preparations included activating more than 2,700 National Guard troops, stockpiling food, setting up shelters, switching traffic patterns so major roads led away from shore, and securing 16 nuclear power reactors in the Carolinas and Virginia.

Utility trucks are positioned Wednesday at a parking lot outside Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., before being moved to Wilmington, N.C., to respond to power interruptions from Hurricane Flo.

Florence's weakening as it neared the coast created tension between some who left home and authorities who anxious that the storm could still be deadly.

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