FLORENCE: Landfall expected Friday morning, inland flooding a threat

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"When you are looking at a storm surge of this magnitude, where the National Weather Service says that the damage is going to be unbelievable and that they can not emphasize that enough, we know that that is a message that we should listen to", said Cooper.

"We can't get a bucket truck out there when tropical storm winds are still blowing", she said. "That window of opportunity is closing on you very quickly".

"Tropical storm conditions are expected to spread inland across the remainder of the warning area through Saturday", the NHC said.

Four electric linemen from Naperville's Department of Public Utilities will take time off their duties in the city to work with electrical contractors after the storm arrives, said Linda LaCloche, spokeswoman for the city of Naperville. "I'm going to get killed on the road, '" Bradley said.

The forecast suggests as much as 40in of rain over seven days along the coast, with the deluge continuing even as the centre of the storm pushes its way over the Appalachian Mountains.

"Minor fluctuations in strength are likely to continue with factors related to nearby land areas, warm waters, wind shear and the overall large size of Florence", said Marshal Moss, AccuWeather vice president of forecasting and graphics operations. Storm winds could range from 80 to 195 miles per hour, officials said. If the storm makes landfall as a Category 2, these winds will be damaging, sustained at up to 160km/h or so with higher gusts.

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"The Governor of Carolina expressed what many people have, which is hope for the best and prepare for the worst". Water causes the most deaths during tropical storms and hurricanes, and Florence expected to cause unsafe flooding.

Early Thursday the Category 2 was about 205 miles (325 kilometers) east southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 250 miles (405 kilometers) east southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Evacuations have begun for people who live in the path of the hurricane which is expected to last a few days.

Florence's winds had dropped from a peak of 225 kph to 165 kph by midmorning, reducing the hurricane from a Category 4 to a Category 2.

The National Hurricane Center says the outer rain bands of Hurricane Florence are approaching the coast of North Carolina. It's moving north, and is expected to turn away from the U.S. The gradually slowing but still life-threatening storm is moving northwest at 15 miles per hour (24 kph).

What is the impact from Hurricane Florence on Charlotte?

. Tropical Storm Olivia made a double landfall in Hawaii Wednesday morning, first in west Maui then Lanai, KHNL reports.

"This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged, significant river flooding", the hurricane centre said. The power company has warned that up to 3 million people could be left without power for an extended period of time following Hurricane Florence.

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