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"We can not underestimate this storm".
Abrams says he expects Hurricane Florence to bring 10 to 20 inches of rain in most places and that the Carolinas can expect extensive flooding.
The NHC said tropical storm-force winds will hit North and SC with full force on Thursday evening.
Roy Cooper warned residents to not let their guard down ahead of Hurricane Florence's landfall later this week. "It's important for people to know this is no ordinary storm and customers could be without power for a very long time - not days, but weeks". The child's injured father was taken to hospital.
Two people died in Lenoir County.
"The shelters are not taking dogs", Ramirez said. Florence has weakened a bit over 24 hours, but it's also grown even larger - and it will likely dump torrential rain over North and SC through Monday.
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4 dead as Hurricane Florence unleashes fury in Carolinas
Both Wilmington International Airport and Fort Macon suffered gusts of 105 miles per hour , the National Weather Service said. Rain is forecast to continue through the weekend, bringing risky flooding conditions to many areas of North Carolina.
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"This is a very unsafe storm", said FEMA's Long, urging people still in evacuation zones to heed orders to flee to safer ground.
Resident Jay Manning said he and his wife watched with alarm as water filled the street.
"We have prepared everything", he says, "to have enough food, water, batteries, radio, first-aid supplies, and everything we need to be safe". "My wife's in a panic right now". It was tracked on Thursday about 725 kilometers away in the Pacific with sustained winds of 205 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 255 kph, Philippine forecasters said.
"It certainly is a challenge forecasting precise impacts when its exact track won't be known until a day in advance", Landsea said: There's "a huge difference" in the size and type of damage Florence inflicts if it stays 50 miles off shore versus heading inland immediately. Since this is now a "foreseen" event, travelers who purchase a travel insurance policy after said date will not have coverage if looking to open a hurricane-related claim. It was downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane before coming ashore near Wrightsville Beach close to Wilmington, North Carolina. More than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out. Trump plans a visit to the region next week.
Early Thursday Florence was about 235 miles (378 kilometers) east southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina and about 280 miles (450 kilometers) east southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Hurricane conditions will likely hit the Carolina coast on Thursday night or early Friday. Up to 3 inches of rainfall are expected for parts of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic and Haiti, possibly causing life-threatening flash flooding. "When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths ..."
Hurricane Florence continues to drop category, but not risky, while hundreds of thousands of people try to get away from the coasts of the two Carolinas and Virginia.