Destructive Hurricane Florence to batter the Carolinas for days

Myrtle Beach

Hurricane Florence continues to barrel toward the coast of the Carolinas as a powerful Category 2 hurricane.

But forecasters warned that the widening storm - and the likelihood of it lingering around the coast for days - would bring seawater surging on to land and torrential downpours.

"This is going to be a Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast", said Jeff Byard, associate administrator for response and recovery at the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Noting the heavy bands on the hurricane's northeast quadrant, he added, "We are on the bad side of this storm". German astronaut Alexander Gerst tweeted pictures of the monster storm taken from the International Space Station along with the warning: "Watch out, America!" He also urged those outside of the evacuation zones to be prepared. "Please heed the warnings", Mr Brock said: "Your time is running out".

As of 6 a.m., Florence was centered just 10 miles (20 kilometers) east of Wilmington, North Carolina. "Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles (130 km) from the centre and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles (315 km)".

Will Epperson, a 36-year-old golf course assistant superintendent, said he and his wife had planned to ride out the storm at their home in Hampstead, North Carolina, but reconsidered due to its ferocity. Because the storm was so strong earlier in the week, it built up a wall of water which will push inland as the storm surge.

Where exactly the zone of heaviest rain sets up as the storm meanders inland is more uncertain, but models suggest that it may concentrate in southern North Carolina and northern SC through the weekend.

The result: catastrophic inland flooding that could swamp homes, businesses, farm fields and industrial sites.

Athens prepares for Hurricane Florence, statewide emergency declared
It's exacerbated by two bays in the storm's path that collect water and increase the height of a surge. It is estimated that the wind speed in the eye of the hurricane reaches 200 km/h.

Strawberry crisis deepens: Six brands recalled after more needles found
These include Donnybrook strawberries and those sold by the Woolworths Group under the Berry Obsession and Berry Licious names. The Stevenson family were shocked to find the strawberries they purchased from Woolworths had been contaiminated with needles.

Florence 'unloading epic amounts of rainfall' in North Carolina
The storm is still leaving a path of destruction across the two states, despite its top sustained wind speeds weakening to 72km/h. It was crawling west-southwest at 3 miles per hour , lifting huge amounts of ocean moisture and dumping it far from the coast.

Allison James, who lives at Huntersville, Mecklenburg County in North Carolina, says based on reports this area would not be directly affected. Don't get complacent. Stay on guard. "Today the threat becomes a reality".

About 5.25 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million more live in places covered by tropical storm warnings or watches, the National Weather Service said. Water kills more people in hurricanes than wind does. St. Helena Island near the South Carolina-Georgia line is used to riding out big storms - from one that killed an estimated 2,000 people in 1893 to Tropical Storm Irma previous year.

Airlines have extended waivers and advisories for travelers with itineraries involving airports in the predicted path of the storm.

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.

Some Florence evacuees are steering toward Bristol Motor Speedway near the Tennessee-Virginia border and Atlanta Motor Speedway, where campgrounds have been opened for people fleeing the storm.

Jenni Koontz, a photographer who shot the clip, wrote on Instagram at 12 p.m. Sept 13 that "the guy in the front end loader told me there is a hole in the road somewhere between the pier and Hatteras so I turned around".

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