WHAT'S HAPPENING: Florence begins to batter Carolina coast

The Weather Channel's Jen Carfagno reports on Hurricane Florence at the boardwalk Wednesday Sept. 12 2018 in Myrtle Beach South Carolina

The Weather Channel's Jen Carfagno reports on Hurricane Florence at the boardwalk Wednesday Sept. 12 2018 in Myrtle Beach South Carolina

Favorable wind patterns. Higher sea levels that exacerbate storm surge.

A gauge in the city of 30,000 people showed the Neuse River was recording 9.6 feet of inundation, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

It's unclear exactly how many people fled, but more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out.

Storm surges up to 3.9 meters (13 feet), the possibility of tornados and nearly a meter of rain in some areas of North and SC were expected when Hurricane Florence makes landfall late Thursday. When Hurricane Floyd made landfall near Cape Fear in 1999 as a Category 2 storm, bloated carcasses of hundreds of thousands of hogs, chickens and other drowned livestock bobbed in a nose-stinging soup of fecal matter, pesticides, fertilizer and gasoline so toxic that fish flopped helplessly to escape it. Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storm's aftermath, it said.

Hurricane Florence has the potential to bring catastrophic flooding to areas of the eastern United States already soaked by heavy rain and it may be the strongest storm to hit the region in decades.

"In 12 or 18 hours, they may be saying different things all over again", he said.

Florence is becoming more of a threat to more people - now including some in Georgia - in more ways with a giant dose of uncertainty on top.

Private meteorologist Ryan Maue of Weathermodels.com in an email called the overnight European computer simulation "another model run for the ages". Nathan Deal declared an emergency but did not immediately order any evacuations.


"Finally I ask all Georgians to join me in praying for the safety of our people and all those in the path of Hurricane Florence".

In Virginia, 245,000 coastal residents were ordered to evacuate.

Florence's weakening as it neared the coast created tension between some who left home and authorities who anxious that the storm could still be deadly. The couple said they would have had to travel too far inland to find a hotel that would have accepted their animals as guests. "We just need to figure out how to make it through".

First responders around the country are making their way to Wrightsville Beach.

"We hope to have something left when we get home", she said.

Originally intended for Hurricane Matthew, Sheila Pulanco Russell of Lumberton, North Carolina, posted the advice in October 2016 and it has racked up more than 400,000 shares.

Forecasters said that given the storm's size and sluggish track, it could cause epic damage akin to what the Houston area saw during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago, with floodwaters swamping homes and businesses and washing over industrial waste sites and hog-manure ponds. Most other beachgoers were long gone. "Also, a little creepy".

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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