Hurricane Florence looms over East Coast — WHAT'S HAPPENING

Hurricane Florence looms over East Coast — WHAT'S HAPPENING

Mandatory evacuation orders have been placed for millions of people along the coast with more to possibly come as the path of the storm becomes more apparent.

As of Wednesday night, Florence's tropical storm force winds were almost 400 miles wide - or the roughly the equivalent of driving from Washington, D.C, to Charlotte, North Carolina; or from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to St. Louis; or from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

Hurricane Florence's path could affect the homes of more than 5 million people, and more than 1 million of them have been ordered to evacuate.

The 266 inmates assigned to Palmer were moved to Turbeville a more secure prison. Surges could reach 9' to 13' on the southeast North Carolina coast between Cape Fear and Cape Lookout, including the Pamlico and Albemarle sounds and their rivers, and 6' to 9' on the adjacent stretches of coast. Due to security reasons, we do not announce advanced inmate movements.

Storm surge has accounted for about half of the deaths in hurricanes since 1970, according to the National Hurricane Center. Favorable wind patterns. Higher sea levels that exacerbate storm surge. The storm will make landfall at the Carolinas Friday.

Across the Carolinas and parts of Virginia, businesses are bracing for the economic damage Hurricane Florence is expected to inflict on the area. It was downgraded to Category 1 before coming ashore on Friday near Wrightsville Beach, near Wilmington.

With the storm churning 140 miles per hour winds, hurricane watches and warnings include the homes of more than 5.4 million people on the East Coast, many of whom have been advised to evacuate.

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The states of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland have all declared states of emergency ahead of Florence.

Some Florence evacuees are steering toward Bristol Motor Speedway near the Tennessee-Virginia border and Atlanta Motor Speedway, where campgrounds have been opened for people fleeing the storm.

Duke Energy warned that Florence could cut off power to anywhere from 1 million to 3 million customers in North and SC, potentially leaving them without electricity for several weeks, said spokeswoman Grace Rountree.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's student paper, The Daily Tar Heel, reported that class has been canceled and students have been encouraged to leave the Chapel Hill area before the storm hits. But rail cars with vehicles bound for Charleston and export markets overseas have been moved to secure areas until the storm passes.

Florence flattened trees, crumbled roads and the assault wasn't anywhere close to being over, with the siege in the Carolinas expected to last all weekend. His remarks fell flat in Puerto Rico where islanders are continuing to struggle to recover a year after the Category 4 storm. It's moving north, and is expected to turn away from the U.S.

Names are only retired "if a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use of its name on a different storm would be inappropriate", according to the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration website. The NHC is encouraging officials in northeastern Mexico, Texas and Louisiana to monitor its progress.

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