Shelters Fill Up As Hurricane Florence Bears Down

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Corps staff worked with Army officials to review dams at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Jackson in SC to "ensure any effects of Florence on those dams are mitigated", said Ray Alexander, the Corps' inter-agency services chief.

President Donald Trump has said protecting lives is his "absolute highest priority" and that the White House is standing by to offer affected states whatever help they request.

Florence's winds weakened as it drew closer to land, dropping from a peak of 140 miles per hour (225 kph) earlier in the week, and the hurricane was downgraded from a terrifying Category 4 to a 1.

A simulation of Florence for Saturday as the storm tracks over SC.

Enough rain could fall to break North Carolina's record for a tropical storm - 24 inches - set near Wilmington during Hurricane Floyd in 1999, said Greg Carbin, chief of forecast operations at the Weather Service's national prediction center. Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles, the hurricane center said.

Folks in Charleston, South Carolina, who have chosen not to evacuate, are preparing for a nasty storm that could make landfall right in their backyard.

"We've got to quickly understand the damage that's been done to the transportation systems, the communication systems, the power systems, and we are positioning, and have bene positioned for multiple days now, to get those critical lifelines back up and stable as quickly as we can", he said. Hurricane Florence hit Wilmington as a category 1 storm causing widespread damage and flooding along the Carolina coastline.

The US National Hurricane Center described how winds of up to 90 miles (150 kilometers) per hour were pummeling the state of North Carolina.

More than 1.7 million people in Virginia, North and SC were told to evacuate ahead of Florence's arrival.

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Municipal power agencies are reporting few outages, except New Bern, which had 17,820 customers without power, according to ElectriCities, the organization that supports the local power agencies. Gradual weakening is expected throughout the day Friday, with significant weakening predicted over the weekend.

In Jacksonville, next to Camp Lejeune, firefighters and police fought wind and rain as they went door-to-door to pull people out of the Triangle Motor Inn after the cinderblock structure began to crumble and the roof started to collapse.

This is due to the wind pushing the water on shore like a large broom forcing the sea level to rise.

How many people will it affect?

On top of the potentially destructive hurricane, forecasters also put parts of North Carolina on tornado watch.

Screaming winds bent trees and raindrops flew sideways as Florence's leading edge battered the Carolina coast Thursday.

More than 3,000 inmates at North Carolina prisons and juvenile detention centers were moved out of the storm's path.

Florence is expected to produce heavy and excessive rainfall into coastal North Carolina, with the possibility of it stretching into the far northeastern portion of SC, the NHC said.

Forecasters warned that drenching rains of anywhere from 1 to 3½ feet as the storm crawls westward across North and SC could trigger epic flooding well inland over the next few days.

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