'Monster' Hurricane Florence takes aim at U.S. Southeast

Some people who had rejected calls to evacuate the targeted area took walks along the water as they tried to enjoy a few final hours of normalcy before Florence's fury arrived.

That reduced the winds' destructive power from Category 4 to Category 2, but forecasters warned that the widening storm, and its likelihood of lingering along the coast day after day after day, raises the risk of surging ocean water and torrential rain.

Democrat McCaskill leads Republican Hawley by 3 points in Missouri Senate race Pence cancels trip to Georgia after Hurricane Florence path changes Trump's school safety commission will not support age limits for gun purchases: report MORE declared Thursday that his administration is "completely ready" for Hurricane Florence's expected landfall along the East Coast.

"This is not going to be a glancing blow", Byard said, warning of power outages, road closures, infrastructure damage and potential loss of life. Author of "The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast".

The overall trend is "exceptionally bad news", said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy, since it "smears a landfall out over hundreds of miles of coastline, most notably the storm surge". Storm surge of 13 feet on top of a high tide at 7 feet could overwhelm Carolina Beach. "The combination of a risky storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline".

A hurricane watch is in effect for Edisto Beach, SC, to South Santee River, SC.

Solange Iliou Thompson, a restaurant owner in the town of Wilmington, North Carolina, made her stance clear.

Footage shows a pier and a beach in Nags Head, North Carolina, being hit with heavy surf as the storm rolls into the area. Hurricane-force winds were blowing 130 km from its centre, and tropical-storm-force winds reached up to 315km from the eye.

Evacuation orders for low-lying areas were issued Monday and continued Tuesday.

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Florence could strengthen some over open water and then weaken as it nears land, but the difference won't make it any less unsafe, forecaster Stacy Stewart wrote in a National Hurricane Center discussion.

At a press conference Thursday morning, officials stressed that Hurricane Florence's wind speed may have fallen, but the danger has not.

Up to 40 inches of rain could fall in North Carolina.

Storm surge is deadly. Then it is likely to hover along the coast Saturday, pushing up to 13 feet (nearly 4 metres) of storm surge and unloading water on both states.

Energy companies have also warned that the storm could knock out power for the foreseeable future in some areas. Tropical Storm Olivia is expected to move over Hawaii Wednesday or Thursday, KHNL reported.

But what makes Florence so different from other storms this year?

The remnants of the storm could even end up bringing some drier conditions to the south west of the UK. Hurricane Helene is veering toward Europe and newly formed Subtropical Storm Joyce is not expected to threaten land.

Hurricane Florence's sustained wind speeds have lessened slightly to 105 miles per hour, but the storm is already bringing surges and tropical storm winds to the North Carolina shore, the National Hurricane Center said in an 11 a.m. briefing.

Another disturbance is swirling around in the Gulf of Mexico. A hurricane hunter plane is scheduled to investigate the system Thursday.

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