Mother and infant are first Hurricane Florence fatalities

APTOPIX-Tropical-Weather-Georgia

APTOPIX-Tropical-Weather-Georgia

Hurricane Florence has weakened somewhat early Thursday as its outer bands approach the North Carolina coast, but weather officials cautioned that the storm will still bring life-threatening conditions.

The National Hurricane Center said Florence will eventually make a right hook to the northeast over the southern Appalachians, moving into the Mid-Atlantic states and New England as a tropical depression by the middle of next week.

"This is risky, unsafe times in New Bern".

NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold also captured Florence making landfall from his spot on the orbiting outpost. The storm's slowing forward movement and heavy rains had Gov. Roy Cooper warning of an impending disaster.

The storm has sustained wind speeds of 90 miles per hour, and a total of 40 inches of rain could fall over the next few days, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Screaming winds bent trees toward the ground and raindrops flew sideways as Florence's leading edge whipped the Carolina coast to begin an onslaught that could last for days, leaving a wide area under water from both heavy downpours and rising seas.


A warming climate also means that the atmosphere can hold more and more water vapor, fueling hurricanes with even more water that can fall on coastal areas.

North Carolina's Emergency Management tweeted that more than 154,000 homes were already without electricity by late Thursday. Authorities say at least 20,000 people have evacuated their homes and are sought refuge in shelters throughout North Carolina. North Carolina corrections officials said more than 3,000 people were relocated from adult prisons and juvenile centres in the path of Florence, and more than 300 county prisoners were transferred to state facilities. The center of the storm is expected to maintain a westward track across southeastern North Carolina Friday and across eastern South Carolina Friday and Saturday.

"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.

It will likely come on shore Friday near Wilmington, North Carolina.

"More people die from storm surge than any proponent of hurricanes", Kottlowsk tells TIME. That's down from a high of 140mph, but still expected to cause "life-threatening storm surge and rainfall".

"I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth", said Ballance, owner of a seafood restaurant that was flooded.

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