Hurricane Florence: Over 188,000 without power as monster storm batters Carolinas

At the time of writing, over 116,000 people were watching the storm approach the tower, which "is a privately owned surplus Coast Guard Light Station", that also doubles as a "unique adventure bed & breakfast" when the weather is more appropriate.

As Americans in North and SC begin to feel the effects of Hurricane Florence, The Weather Channel has reminded viewers of how risky storm surges can be.

U.S. forecasters late Thursday downgraded Hurricane Florence to a Category 1 storm, as its outer edge lashed the Carolinas with strong winds and heavy rain.

Duke Energy Corp, the biggest utility in the area with over 4 million customers, estimated the storm could cause between 1 million to 3 million outages. Millions of people are expected to lose power and it could take weeks to resolve the outages.

He said there are about 7,000 USA military forces now in place and ready to respond to the storm - along with ships, helicopters and high-wheeled vehicles.

In a new demonstration of the network's CGI capabilities, hosts have presented from the centre of a digital storm surge to demonstrate the hurricane's damaging potential.

Avair Vereen, 39, took her seven children to a shelter in Conway High School near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Hurricane Florence latest forecast could still mean tropical impacts for Middle Georgia
Duke Energy has around 4 million customers in North and SC , and says it could take several weeks to restore the electricity. Across several eastern states, residents scrambled to leave as the Category 4 storm, with winds of 225kmh, approached.

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But forecasters warned that the widening storm - and its likelihood of lingering around the coast for days - will bring life-threatening storm surge and torrential rains.

But the storm still carried "very risky winds", the Center added.

Forecasters said conditions will deteriorate as the storm pushes ashore early Friday near the North Carolina-South Carolina line and makes its way slowly inland.

With winds picking up along the coastline earlier Thursday, federal and state officials had issued final appeals to residents to get out of the path of the "once in a lifetime" weather system. Heavy rains were forecast to extend into the Appalachian mountains, affecting parts of Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.

Still, a storm surge can overwhelm the animals, as it did in 2003 when Hurricane Isabel killed five horses and swept three others a few miles away. 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.

A North Carolina city says about 70 people have been rescued from a hotel whose structural integrity is being threatened by Hurricane Florence. "The anxiety level has dropped substantially", Epperson said. "When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths".

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