Florence makes landfall in US

US East Coast braces for Hurricane Florence

And while the intensity of Florence's winds - still in the 90 miles per hour range - have diminished enough to turn it into a Category 1, the storm has grown in size as it crawls off the coast at a plodding 6 miles per hour.

Storm surge of up to 13 feet will be "life threatening" and rainfall of up to 40 inches will mean "catastrophic" flooding, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Russ Lewis covers his eyes from a gust of wind and a blast of sand as Hurricane Florence approaches Myrtle Beach, S.C., on September 14, 2018. By late Wednesday, authorities in North Carolina reported almost 7,000 evacuees staying in 71 emergency shelters throughout the state.

"I had a lot of fear initially, but I am glad to be inside and safe", said Ms Zelda Allen, 74, a retired tax accountant from Hampstead, North Carolina, who was riding out the storm at Wilmington's Hotel Ballast with her husband.

Video posted on Twitter showed a meteorologist telling viewers about the evacuation before walking off-screen.

Shaken after seeing waves crashing on the Neuse River just outside his house in New Bern, restaurant owner and hurricane veteran Tom Ballance wished he had evacuated.

Hurricane Florence is bearing down on North Carolina but not as much as one weather reporter would have you believe.

Florence, for her part, shares similarities with Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall in Houston on August 25 of 2017 as a Category 4 hurricane and dumped record-setting amounts of rain.

Eudy's family has lived in New Bern since the 1850s, he said. "We got thrown into mailboxes, houses, trees", said Holt, who had stayed at home because of a doctor's appointment that was later canceled. That happened past year when Hurricane Harvey dumped more than 150 centimeters (60 inches) of rain on the Houston, Texas, area.

The National Weather Service reported wind gusts of up to 21 miles per hour on September 14 morning in Columbia.

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More than one million people had been ordered to evacuate the coastlines of the Carolinas and Virginia.

"We have crews sheltered in place at this time, waiting for the storm's passage", said Capt. Bion Stewart, the Coast Guard incident commander for Hurricane Florence. REUTERS/Chris KeanePeople walk past a boarded up building before Hurricane Florence comes ashore in Carolina Beach, North Carolina, U.S., September 12, 2018.

"The fact is this storm is deadly and we know we are days away from an ending", Cooper said.

Forecasters said that given the storm's size and sluggish track, it could cause enormous damage similar to what the Houston area saw during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago, with floodwaters swamping homes and businesses.

Trump says his administration has been in "close contact" with the state and local governments soon to be impacted by the massive storm.

The storm knocked out power to more than 890,000 homes and businesses, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks the USA electrical grid.

Hurricane Florence is dumping rain on North Carolina and pushing a storm surge taller than most humans onto communities near the coast. Similar declarations were made earlier in North and South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Screaming winds bent trees and led to near-horizontal rain as Florence's leading edge whipped the Carolina coast to begin an onslaught that could last for days, leaving a wide area underwater from both heavy downpours and rising seas. Eventually, Florence will veer north into the Appalachian Mountains, bringing soaking rains to Virginia and western North Carolina, before sputtering out late next week near DE and Maryland, the FWS reported.

More than 16 inches of rain have fallen in southeast North Carolina and another 20 to 25 inches is on the way, the hurricane center said.

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