Lineman head to NC to help ahead of Florence

Lineman head to NC to help ahead of Florence

It's just more than what we can do there.

Garden City Fire District Chief Norman Knight told Murrells Inlet residents on Thursday that it was still not too late to leave.

Forecasters anxious the storm's damage would be all the worse if it lingered on the coast. "You may need to move up to the second story, or to your attic, but WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU".

In addition to the storm surge, "There is going to be a lot of rain", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said on Thursday.

The NHC warned the threat of tornadoes was increasing as Florence neared shore and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said the heavy rains could trigger landslides in the western part of his state.

Florence is a Category 2 storm in the Atlantic Ocean with maximum sustained winds of 105 miles per hour (169 kph).

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.

Near the beach in Wilmington a Waffle House restaurant, part of a chain with a reputation for staying open during disasters, had no plans to close, even if power is lost.

More than 6,700 people spent Wednesday night in 127 Red Cross and community shelters in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, Red Cross spokeswoman Stephanie Rendon said. Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire.

Life-threatening storm surges of up to 13 feet (4m) have been forecast in some areas when the monster storm eventually makes landfall in North and SC.

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Why isn't the downgraded storm less of a threat?

In some counties, almost 1 in 3 people live below the poverty line.

Just as Florence bears down on the Southeast, hurricane-force winds cover more than 15,000 square miles - larger than the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island combined.

By midday, Spanish moss blew sideways in the trees as the winds increased in Wilmington.

Wilmington resident Julie Terrell was plenty concerned after walking to breakfast past a row of shops fortified with boards, sandbags and hurricane shutters. But James said she and her family are prepared and stocked up on several items.

This is why you don't mess with Mother Nature. According to stats compiled from Weather.us meteorologist Ryan Maue, about 17 trillion gallons of rain will fall over the Carolinas, Georgia and Virginia. That's enough to fill the Chesapeake Bay or cover the entire state of Texas with almost 4 inches (10 centimeters) of water, he calculated.

More than 1 million people have been ordered to evacuate and authorities urged them to get going before the streets become inundated.

Ashley Warren and boyfriend Chris Smith did manage to paddle away from their home in a boat with their two dogs, and the experience left her shaken. "Whether you have a house or not, when the storm comes it will bring everyone together".

Duke Energy, a power company in the Carolinas, estimated that one million to three million customers could lose electricity because of the storm and that it could take weeks to restore. "The right thing to do is to help out", Hernandez said. Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles.

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

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