Shelters Fill Up As Hurricane Florence Bears Down

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According to poweroutage.us, more than 500,000 customers in North Carolina and 50,000 in SC were without power on Friday morning, though the Weather Channel estimates up to 3 million customers could lose power in the Carolinas due to Florence. Meteorologists at the National Weather Service's Wilmington office are waiting for the National Hurricane Center to confirm the track of the eyeball, which typically has the storm's strongest winds.

He said only about 300,000 of the 700,000 people who live in the mandatory evacuation zone have left.

Top winds were holding at 90 miles per hour - that's just a Category 1 hurricane - but some communities were already submerged in more than six feet of water as the storm drenched the coast.

However, it's possible that Florence will stay just offshore, dumping rain on North Carolina as she moves south, not moving inland until she reaches Myrtle Beach.

The National Hurricane Center said Florence will eventually make a right hook to the northeast over the southern Appalachians, moving into the mid-Atlantic states and New England as a tropical depression by the middle of next week.

"This rainfall would produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding", the Hurricane Center said.

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Forecasters said Isaac will bring several inches of rain to some locations and possibly life-threatening surf conditions. At 5 a.m., the storm was centered 575 miles (925 km) southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, moving at 17 mph (28 kph).

"Some say North Carolina is getting a break, but we are on the wrong side of this story", he said.

WTOP's Steve Dresner, who is in Morehead City, North Carolina, described the scene just after 10 p.m. Thursday: "I'm looking out a fourth floor balcony back to the center of Morehead City, and the lights are out".

"This storm will bring destruction", said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.

Florence arrived at the Carolina coast as a Category 1 storm, with winds far slower than the fearsome 150 miles per hour of just a few days ago.

Employees at New Bern's WCTI-TV NewsChannel 12 had to abandon their studio for the "first time in history", the station posted on Facebook Thursday night.

Millions of people have evacuated to inland communities as the storm churns westward. "Trees are blowing down in the wind".

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In Jacksonville, North Carolina, next to Camp Lejeune, firefighters and police fought wind and rain as they went door-to-door to pull people out of the Triangle Motor Inn after the structure began to crumble and the roof started to collapse.

With many employees at risk, Novartis said it has temporarily stopped pharmaceutical production at their Wilson, North Carolina site.

As Hurricane Florence barreled into the shores of Wrightsville Beach, N.C., early Friday, Americans braced for destruction that will effectively shut down daily life across the Southeastern United States in the coming days.

This is due to the wind pushing the water on shore like a large broom forcing the sea level to rise.

On Friday, the storm's center will hug the coast of southeast North Carolina, where the most severe effects are expected.

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