Surfer Andrew Vanotteren, of Savannah, Georgia, it hangs in the waves of Hurricane Florence, Wednesday, Sept., 12, 2018, on the south beach of Tybee Island, Ga. Vanotteren, and his friend Bailey Gaddis said the waves have gotten bigger and better, every night, when the storm is approaching. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, File)
WILMINGTON, N. C. – North Carolina residents began to feel the first modest effects of a weakened Hurricane Florence on Thursday, forecasters warned the powerful storm will bring seawater rises, the land, and torrential downpours.
Florence eye could come ashore early Friday around the North Carolina, South Carolina line. Then it is likely to hover along the coast Saturday, pushing up to 13 feet (almost 4 meters) of storm surge and discharge of water in both states. More than 1.7 million people in the Carolina and Virginia were warned to clear out. The National Weather Service said approximately 5.25 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million in places covered by tropical storm warnings or watches.
Some warnings are ignored, choosing instead to shelter at home and take their chances. The police chief of a barrier island in Florence bulls’eye said he was asked for the next-of-kin the contact details of the few residents who refused to leave.
To add to the concerns, forecasters warned the larger and slow-moving storm could linger for days along the coast, leaving many without power and supplies.
Duke Energy said Florence, a Category 2 hurricane, could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks.
Bertha Bradley said she has never preferred to evacuate ahead of hurricanes. Only one storm scared enough to leave the island. But the traffic was terrible.
“I said, ‘Why get on the road like this? I am planning to get killed on the road,'” Bradley said. “I must stay in my house, where I water and food. If God is for you, you can’t get from him.”
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