Wrightsville Beach 12 brace for Florence to fully make landfall

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Hurricane Florence has arrived. The military has the benefit of using its own bases, such as Fort Bragg in North Carolina, to pre-position relief supplies and equipment.

NHC Director Ken Graham said on Facebook the storm surges could push as far as 2 miles (3 km) inland. He added that Hurricane Florence poses a challenge because it is expected to drift over hard-hit areas.

The storm was reduced to a Category 1 Hurricane just before it barrelled into the US East Coast.

One report was of a 10-foot surge in New Bern, North Carolina, the National Weather Service said.

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In all, the US military said it positioned about 9,600 USA service members, including 6,570 National Guard personnel, at various bases across the Southeast, along with helicopters and high-wheeled vehicles, in order to mount Hurricane Florence relief efforts. Their predictions call for moderate flooding at 43 rivers in North Carolina and SC within the next 12 hours. The few cars out on a main street in Wilmington had to swerve to avoid fallen trees, metal debris and power lines. Roof shingles were peeled off a hotel.

The enduring Tropical Storm Helene is picking up speed and accelerating northward at 23 miles per hour with sustained winds of 65 miles per hour. North of the landfall, another 150 people near the town of New Bern required rescue from floods along the Neuse River.

"This large-scale feature is expected to keep the hurricane moving northwestward today, followed by a turn toward the west at a much slower speed on Friday as the ridge to the north of Florence weakens due to a weak shortwave trough dropping slowly southward from the Ohio Valley".

Tom Balance, owner of a seafood restaurant in New Bern, had decided against evacuating his home and was soon alarmed to see waves coming off the Neuse and the water getting higher and higher. "I'm not leaving him here".

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"We call them disasters because they break things", FEMA Administrator Brock Long told reporters while Florence was bearing down on the coastline.

The wind howled and sheets of rain splattered against windows of a hotel before dawn in Wilmington, where Sandie Orsa of Wilmington sat in a lobby lit by emergency lights after the power failed.

On top of the potentially destructive hurricane, forecasters also put parts of North Carolina on tornado watch. "We are totally prepared", Trump said at the White House.

About 1.7 million people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia are under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders and millions of others live in areas likely to be affected by the storm.

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North Carolina's Emergency Management tweeted that more than 154,000 homes were already without electricity by late Thursday.

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