US Southeast power companies said more than 188,000 homes and businesses in North Carolina and SC were without power early Friday as Hurricane Florence caused a deluge ahead of its landfall later in the day. Waves off the shore of North Carolina have already gotten as high as 13 feet, he saYS.
Florence's top winds were clocked on Thursday at 100 miles per hour (170 km per hour) as it churned in the Atlantic Ocean, down from a peak of 140 mph (224 kph) earlier this week when it was classified a Category 4 storm.
She said a hurricane has a way of bringing everyone to the same level.
Winds were already picking up along the coastline early Thursday and some minor flooding was reported on the Outer Banks, barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina, and in some seaside coastal towns.More news: Pauline Hanson calls girl 'brat' who doesn't stand for national anthem
But the biggest danger could be life-threatening storm surges.
Georgia, North and South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland have declared a state of emergency as forecasts showed Florence dumping historic amounts of rain on the area.
What also makes Florence extremely unsafe are the deadly storm surges, mammoth coastal flooding and historic rainfall expected far inland.
Frustrated after evacuating his beach home for a storm that was later downgraded, retired nurse Frederick Fisher grumbled in the lobby of a Wilmington hotel several miles inland. But that, combined with the storm's slowing forward movement and heavy rains, had Gov. Roy Cooper warning of an impending disaster.
In the tiny community of Sea Breeze near Wilmington, Roslyn Fleming, 56, made a video of the inlet where her granddaughter was baptized because "I just don't think a lot of this is going to be here" later. "If we lose the house, oh well, we can get housing".
General O'Shaughnessy said there were about 7,000 U.S. military personnel now in place and ready to respond to the storm, along with ships, helicopters, high-wheeled vehicles and other equipment.More news: Scientists discover ghostly new fish in the depths of the Pacific
Life-threatening storm surges of up to 13 feet (4m) have been forecast in some areas when the monster storm eventually makes landfall in North and SC.
Tornadoes are possible in eastern North Carolina through Friday.
The expected high winds and slow movement of the hurricane as it comes ashore are likely to make rescue efforts in flooded areas challenging, senior US Defence Department officials say.
Hurricane Florence is coming.
Despite pleas from officials, some residents ignored calls to evacuate.More news: 32 killed, 128 injured in attack on protesters
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