15 September, 2018
Florence is located about 155 miles (250 kilometers) east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, packing maximum sustained winds of 100 mph (155 km/h), the Miami-based weather forecaster said. Others could only wait and hope someone would come for them.
About 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians have been deployed, with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats.
More than 10 million people throughout North and SC and Virginia are under a hurricane or tropical storm watch or warning as of Friday, according to the National Weather Service.
"I'm anxious about what I might find when I go home, though", she said.
Hurricane-force winds will tear through more than 15,000 square miles of the Southeast in the next several days, even as Hurricane Florence starts to slow down.
Florence's circulation was pushing water ashore, especially north of its eye, in coastal or riverside towns like New Bern and Belhaven, turning land to lakes.
The National Weather Service has issued a coastal flood warning for the Peninsula, including Williamsburg, James City County and York County, as Hurricane Florence nears landfall in the Carolinas.
Hurricane Florence made landfall on the US East Coast on Friday, knocking out power to almost half a million homes and causing buildings to crumble.
Parts of the Triangle were under flash flood watches, tropical storm warnings and tornadoes had been spotted as close as Rocky Mount, the NWS said.
Rainfall also is swelling waterways: Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com calculated that 34 million people in the US are forecast to get at least 3 inches of rain from Hurricane Florence, with more than 5.7 million people probably getting at least a foot of rain.
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Energy Secretary Rick Perry says the US electricity sector has been well prepared for Hurricane Florence even as hundreds of thousands of homes lose power in the storm.
At the Wilmington airport, the wind was measured at 105 miles per hour - the highest since 1958, Cooper said.
Airlines cancelled more than 2,100 flights through Sunday.
Authorities said more than 60 people, including many children and pets, had to be evacuated from a hotel in Jacksonville, North Carolina, after strong winds caused parts of the roof to collapse.
"We have prepared everything", he says, "to have enough food, water, batteries, radio, first-aid supplies, and everything we need to be safe".
In New Bern, population 29,000, flooding on the Neuse River trapped about 200 people.
Sheets of rain splattered against windows of a hotel before daybreak in Wilmington, where Sandie Orsa of Wilmington sat in a lobby lit by emergency lights after the power failed.
Except - and we don't mean to jinx it - but the storm *is* heading further south from here and the wind did die down a bit so who is to say it didn't work entirely?
"(It's) very eerie, the wind howling, the rain blowing sideways, debris flying", said Sandie Orsa, of Wilmington, who fears splintering trees will destroy her home. North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia were expected to be hit with the brunt of the Category 3 storm.
Thousands of people hunkered down in schools, shelters and a coliseum in Winston-Salem. As the recovery from past storms continues in many rural towns, the next storm is about to strike.