Northeastern's Charlotte campus prepares for Hurricane Florence

Its outer bands arrived here on Thursday morning, and its wind and rain quickly began to punish this part of the North Carolina coast with a slow-moving, relentless onslaught.

Florence was downgraded to a Category 2 storm overnight on the five-level Saffir-Simpson wind scale but it is still packing hurricane-force winds of 100 miles (155 kilometers) per hour, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. "It can also send salt water into the fresh drinking supply and drives potentially risky creatures inland to higher ground".

"Do you want to get hit with a train or do you want to get hit with a cement truck?" said Jeff Byard, an administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

At 6 miles per hour, Florence is taking its time making it to shore, but it's already causing life-threatening storm surges and bringing hurricane-force winds to the North Carolina coast.

The expected high winds and slow movement of the hurricane as it comes ashore are likely to make rescue efforts in flooded areas challenging, senior US Defence Department officials say.

Hurricane Florence approaches North and SC, a veteran reporter has issued a dark warning to those refusing to flee.

As the leading edge of Hurricane Florence moved over the North Carolina coast on Thursday, Northeastern's Charlotte campus was mobilizing a robust network of people to monitor weather patterns, assess risks, and provide support services to students and their families. "We're ready and God will watch over us". "Don't play games with it".

The storm's center was about 108 miles (173 km) east of Wilmington, North Carolina, at 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT) but already some 19,000 homes and businesses were without power by mid-afternoon in the Carolinas and Virginia.

Southeastern coastal North Carolina and far northeastern SC are expected to get pelted with 20 to 30 inches of rain, and some isolated spots may get up to 40 inches in 48 hours.


Utility crews had largely stopped stringing power lines during the peak of the storm and said they would not resume restoring power until wind speeds subsided and flood waters receded, which could take several areas in the hardest-hit areas.

One electricity company fears that three-quarters of its four million customers will lose power as a result of the storm, and may not be reconnected for weeks.

Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storm's aftermath, it said.

North Carolina alone is forecast to get 9.6 trillion gallons (36 trillion liters), enough to cover the Tar Heel state to a depth of about 10 inches (25 centimeters).

Despite reassurances from FEMA and Trump, Florence's fluctuations and course-change predictions have added to the difficulties of preparing for such a massive storm.

About 1.7 million people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia have been put under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders to avoid what emergency officials called a "once in a lifetime" storm.

It was initially unclear how many people ended up being rescued. If the storm surge was really that bad, he said, it could mean that parts of his town could be under three feet of water, even well removed from the ocean.

With South Carolina's beach towns more in the bull's-eye because of the shifting forecast, OH vacationers Chris and Nicole Roland put off their departure from North Myrtle Beach to get the maximum amount of time on the sand.

Hurricanes, on the other hand, stick around much longer. "Also, a little creepy".

  • Valerie Cook