Hurricane Florence begins to batter United States east coast

Hurricane Florence hours away from Carolinas

Hurricane Florence hours away from Carolinas

The storm was moving northwest at 10 miles per hour.

Isha Renta, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service's Baltimore/Washington forecast office, said while the forecast may look humdrum for the region, "we can not discount" the storm.

Cooper requested additional federal disaster assistance in anticipation of what his office called "historic major damage" across the state. Hurricane Florence's path is hitting many counties where fewer than 5% of people have flood insurance. Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire.

Prisoners were affected, too.

More than 1 million people have been ordered to evacuate - but the window to do so in nearly over.

The National Hurricane Center forecasts that it could be centered over southwestern Pennsylvania by early Tuesday morning, potentially bringing more rain to Maryland and another surge of floodwaters down an already swollen Susquehanna River.

Spanish moss waved in the trees as the winds picked up in Wilmington, and floating docks bounced atop swells at Morehead City. Ocean water flowed between homes and on to streets on the Outer Banks; waves crashed against wooden fishing piers.

Coastal towns in the Carolinas were largely empty, and schools and businesses closed as far south as Georgia.

After that, Florence is forecast to move northwest and north and move across western SC on Sunday, Sept. 15, and across western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee on Monday, Sept. 16, the NHC said.

Because hurricane force winds extend 130 kilometers from the center, people on land will experience sharply deteriorating conditions long before the center reaches the coast.

A buoy off the North Carolina coast recorded waves almost 30 feet (9 metres) high as Florence churned toward shore. Florence is expected to arrive in southeast North Carolina on Friday morning before drifting south into SC.

Forecasters say Florence will likely turn to the west-northwest and slow down its forward motion - a situation that will bring even more rainfall to the area.

Some Carolinians have expressed frustration after evacuating their homes for a storm that was later downgraded - but officials have pushed back at suggestions that Florence's threat has been exaggerated.

Trump faced severe criticism for his administration's response to Hurricane Maria past year in Puerto Rico.

As Florence drew near, President Donald Trump tweeted that FEMA and first responders are "supplied and ready", and he disputed the official conclusion that almost 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico, claiming the figure was a Democratic plot to make him look bad.

Unrelated to Florence, Conowingo Dam owner Exelon Corp. opened more than a dozen of the structure's floodgates Wednesday night and into Thursday.

"We'll operate without power; we have candles. Once you leave, you don't know how many days it will be before you can return", she said.

By the time it leaves, it's expected to have unloaded 10 trillion gallons of rainfall in North Carolina, weather.us meteorologist Ryan Maue said. "We're watching how it tracks when it comes inland". "We chose to hunker down".