US East Coast braces for Hurricane Florence

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By Monday the storm, eroding toward becoming an extratropical low, will move north across western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee as it moves up the Appalachian Mountains - potentially dumping even more rain in the Ohio River watershed, where rivers are already high from moisture carried north by the remains of tropical storm Gordon.

Helene was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm Thursday.

United Parcel Service Inc, which already has stopped deliveries and pickups into evacuation zones, is helping large customers make contingency plans for packages destined for delivery in those areas, UPS spokesman Matthew O'Connor said.

Storm surge, the massive mound of water that builds up and comes ashore during a hurricane, is often the deadliest and most destructive threat from the storms.

Winds up to 80 miles per hour are lashing the coast, and a storm surge up to 11 feet high is expected in some areas, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

A sailor heaves line in preparation ahead of Hurricane Florence at Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Virginia, September 11, 2018.

The impact of Florence will be widespread, with destructive winds, life-threatening storm surge, unsafe surf, torrential rainfall, flooding and the potential for tornadoes. Cloud cover that could encompass multiple states.

Map shows the predicted path of hurricane Florence through Tues., Sept Sept. 18.

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On Friday, coastal streets in the Carolinas flowed with frothy ocean water, and pieces of torn-apart buildings flew through the air.

Some predictions are calling for Florence to dump as much as 10 trillion gallons of rain on the region.

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. It is rated as a Category 2 storm on a scale of 1 to 5 and is expected to maintain its strength.

Elder relatives carry as much weight as meteorologists in a tight-knit community of slave descendants on the SC coast. He says: "If Mama and Grandma are going, then a lot of people are leaving".

The remainder of SC and North Carolina into southwest Virginia could see 6 to 12 inches, with some isolated areas seeing 15 inches.

"I ask all Georgians to join me in praying for the safety of our people and all those in the path of Hurricane Florence", Deal said. At least two dozen utility trucks gathered near Charlotte Motor Speedway to prepare to move in and start restoring power as soon as conditions are safe. All seven of North Carolina's ferry routes were shut down.

More than 1 million people have been ordered to evacuate the coastlines of the Carolinas and Virginia. Unsure of what they would find when they return home, the couple went shopping for a recreational vehicle. But rail cars with vehicles bound for Charleston and export markets overseas have been moved to secure areas until the storm passes.

A state of emergency has been declared in 5 states including North and SC, as well as the capital, Washington D.C.

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