Five Killed as Florence Hammers the Carolinas

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Storm surge is basically a wall of seawater that could fall on and swallow parts of the coast. "We can not underestimate this storm".

Scientists hypothesize that a warmer world will bring slower storms, so what we saw last year with Harvey - and now this year with Florence - could be a sign of those changes.

A hurricane warning is in effect for a big chunk of the Carolina coast, from the South Santee River below Myrtle Beach, S.C., to Duck, N.C. - part of the Outer Banks. Hundreds of thousands of people have already evacuated. "Please heed the warnings", Mr Brock said: "Your time is running out".

Hurricane Florence is predicted to creep across the coast from North Carolina to SC after making landfall late Thursday or early Friday.

This same zone will be hammered by winds gusting up to hurricane force for almost a day while tropical-storm conditions could linger twice that long.

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Forecasters said Florence's eye could come ashore early on Friday around the North Carolina-South Carolina border.

The main threat from this storm will likely be inland flooding. Areas further from the coast could see 6-12in of rain.

The weather event has been downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm but forecasters still warn of life-threatening storm surges.

"Don't relax, don't get complacent".

For people who stayed behind near the coast, or find themselves facing the brunt of the storm, officials are offering safety advice. "Today the threat becomes a reality", he said. Ten million people are now under some kind of weather advisory.

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While the inland city rarely faces challenges from hurricanes, campus officials employ a series of emergency protocols to handle any weather-related events, said Cheryl Richards, chief executive officer and regional dean of Northeastern's Charlotte campus. So the land can't absorb much more water.

Gradually, Friday through the weekend (local time), the massive storm - containing a zone of tropical-storm-force winds almost 643km wide - will drift inland, engulfing much of SC and southern North Carolina.

In light of the powerful storm, at least 12 Division 1 college football games have been moved or canceled, according to the NCAA. Home Depot and Lowe's activated emergency response centres to get generators, rubbish bags and bottled water to stores before and after the storm.

As Florence drew near, President Donald Trump tweeted that FEMA and first responders are "supplied and ready", and he disputed the official conclusion that almost 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico, claiming the figure was a Democratic plot to make him look bad.

Businesses across the Carolinas, Virginia and Georgia will likely suffer financial losses from the approaching storm, with ports closing, farmers moving their livestock and expected power outages that could last for weeks.

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In the tiny community of Sea Breeze near Wilmington, Roslyn Fleming, 56, made a video of the inlet where her granddaughter was baptized because "I just don't think a lot of this is going to be here" later. "If I can't get back in a week, after a while they might turn on each other or trash the place".

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