Hurricane Florence Category 2 storm closes in on Carolina coast

NASA image of Hurricane Florence

The first rains of Hurricane Florence were closing in on North Carolina on Thursday, with the storm packing winds of up to 110 miles an hour and driving a storm surge that could reach 13 feet in places.

Though its wind speeds have dropped to make it a Category 2 storm, forecasters warned that the hurricane retained its potential to deliver catastrophic, life-threatening damage. The National Hurricane Center said it was likely to maintain its intensity until it made landfall.

The storm is forecast to crawl inland, drenching a wide area with extremely heavy rains — 20, 30 or even 40 inches of rainfall are predicted in some spots on the Carolina coast.

The major power supplier for North and South Carolina, Duke Energy, warned that the storm could knock out power for up to three million customers across the two states. It could take several weeks to restore electricity to everyone, the company said. Its reach has expanded and it might be threatening to the residents of Georgia and Virginia.

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The mayor of Washington DC Muriel Bowser, on Tuesday, had declared a state of emergency as Hurricane Florence prepared to make landfall in the southeastern coast of the United States.

Earlier this week, the residents of South Carolina were ordered to evacuate from the coast as then-category-4 Hurricane Florence approached.

(With ANI inputs)

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