Florence, a smelly wet unwanted visitor, besieges Carolinas

Five dead as Hurricane Florence barrels into US coast knocking down trees and overflowing rivers

"Warmer oceans mean more energy to intensify tropical storms and hurricanes", he said.

A new 5-minute video from the space station shows Florence coming ashore in the US for the first time.

Tropical Storm Florence keeps drenching the central Carolinas, with an additional 10 to 15 inches of rain expected before it finally swings north over the Appalachian Mountains and into the Ohio Valley on Monday.

The biggest danger, as forecasters saw it, was not the wind but the water: the storm surge along the coastline and the prospect of 1 to 3½ feet of rain over the next several days that could trigger catastrophic flooding in a slow-motion disaster well inland.

Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles from its center.

Hurricane Florence made landfall on Friday morning near Wrightsville Beach, N.C., according to the National Hurricane Center.

Florence is forecast to dump up to 40 inches of rain in some areas after it makes landfall in North and South Carolina Thursday night or Friday.

Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters said Florence eventually could strike as merely a Category 1 hurricane with winds less than 100 miles per hour (160 kph), but that's still enough to cause at least $1 billion in damage.

A North Carolina city says about 70 people have been rescued from a hotel whose structural integrity is being threatened by Hurricane Florence.

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Florence was a Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale with 120-mph winds on Thursday. "We've got some roof issues, parts of roof are coming off and we've got some fences coming down".

For people living inland in the Carolinas, maximum peril could come days later as all that water drains, overflowing rivers and causing flash floods.

Power outages are widespread, affecting over 740,000 homes and businesses in North Carolina and 163,000 in SC.

North Carolina alone is forecast to get 9.6 trillion gallons, enough to cover the Tar Heel state to a depth of about 10 inches (25 centimeters). Shortly afterward, the National Weather Service reported wind gusts to 105 miles per hour at Wilmington International Airport, the highest wind gust measured in Wilmington since Hurricane Helene hit the port city in 1958. Airlines had canceled almost 1,000 flights and counting. The storm knocked out power to more than 890,000 homes and businesses, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks the USA electrical grid.

There was just one problem: While Seidel looked as if he needed to guard against the wind and the rain, two people walked behind him as though nothing was wrong and ruined the appearance of dire conditions.

More than 800,000 people were left without power across North Carolina, with officials warning the number could rise to 2.5 million in the coming days. "We got thrown into mailboxes, houses, trees", said Holt, who had stayed at home because of a doctor's appointment that was later cancelled.

As of now, American is still running its full schedule - except for flights to the cities near the storm, like New Bern and Wilmington, says American spokesperson Crystal Byrd.

Emergency declarations were in force in Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

She said the shop, with an electric generator, was safer than their nearby home.

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