The administration said that as Florence, a Category 2 storm, is expected to make landfall in the USA southeast coast on Friday, the massive storm will obstruct electricity transmission and distribution, while widespread evacuations and disruptions to normal business operations could impact demand patterns for transportation fuels.
In addition, hurricane-strength winds are predicted to batter everything in the storm's path.
"Please keep that in mind", and consider leaving soon, Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said midmorning Thursday.
Hurricane warnings and storm surge warnings were still in effect from South Santee River in SC to Duck in North Carolina and the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds. North Carolina corrections officials said more than 3,000 people were relocated from adult prisons and juvenile centers in the path of Florence, and more than 300 county prisoners were transferred to state facilities.
The tropical cyclone is expected to unload 10 trillion gallons of rainfall in North Carolina, weather.us meteorologist Ryan Maue said.
Farther south, in Carolina Beach, the northern end of the town was being swamped as water crashed over the dunes.
In Wilmington, North Carolina, a steady rain began to fall as gusts of winds intensified, causing trees to sway and stoplights to flicker.
Avair Vereen, 39, took her seven children to a shelter in Conway High School. Roberts said numerous residents live near the Neuse and Trent rivers. "We just bought a new house so I'm kinda nervous". "But we can't replace us so we made a decision to come here".
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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.
Steve Goldstein of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Florence's forward motion had slowed overnight and it was not expected to make landfall in the Carolinas until "some time Friday afternoon, Friday evening or Saturday morning". Some areas could receive as much as 40 inches (one meter) of rain, forecasters said.
A tornado watch was also in effect for parts of North Carolina.
"Storms of this magnitude have struck the US coastline in the past, in some cases causing $10 billion or less in total damage", Myers said. He asked citizens in danger zones to heed warnings because "your time is running out". As Florence moves inland, we'll see more rain and more flooding from our rivers.
Rivers are expected to burst their banks.Some 1.7 million people have been ordered to evacuate from North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
In Norfolk, Virginia, police were alerted to people dressed in fluorescent vests going door to door and telling residents that they had to leave their homes and businesses, The Associated Press reported Thursday.
Emergency declarations were in force in Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. Duke Energy, a local power company, estimated that up to three million customers could lose their supply as a result of Florence.
The page says service animals aren't barred from evacuation shelters, beaches shouldn't be used for sand bags, and evacuation orders aren't enforced by FEMA.
Florence may change the shape of the coastline in part of North Carolina by eroding some of the barrier islands and carving new inlets. Also, a 77-year-old man was apparently knocked down by the wind and died after going out to check on his hunting dogs, and a man was electrocuted while trying to connect extension cords in the rain, authorities said.
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