Everything you need to know about Hurricane Florence

As Hurricane Florence approaches environmental disasters in North Carolina loom

Coastal streets in the Carolinas flowed with frothy ocean water, and at least 510,000 homes and businesses were without power, almost all of them in North Carolina, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks the nation's electrical grid.

The effects of Hurricane Florence have already arrived on the East Coast of the U.S., where massive floods have already begun and as much asthe National Hurricane Center forecasts 40 inches of rain and 11 feet of flooding from the storm surge.

Travel on the state's roads has grown "extremely hazardous", said Jim Trogdon, the North Carolina transportation secretary, who warned in a late-morning briefing that a 500- to 1,000-year "flood event is anticipated".

The NHC said the threat of tornadoes was increasing as Florence neared shore and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said the heavy rain could trigger landslides in the west of his state.

Enough rain could fall to break North Carolina's record for a tropical storm - 24 inches - set near Wilmington during Hurricane Floyd in 1999, said Greg Carbin, chief of forecast operations at the Weather Service's national prediction center.

Folks in Charleston, South Carolina, who have chosen not to evacuate, are preparing for a nasty storm that could make landfall right in their backyard.

"I'm not going to put our personnel in harm's way, especially for people that we've already told to evacuate", Wrightsville Beach Police Chief Dan House said.

Life-threatening storm surges, landslides and risky winds are also hitting the region as up to 40 inches of rain falls.

Florence arrived at the Carolina coast as a Category 1 storm, with winds far slower than the fearsome 150 miles per hour of just a few days ago.

Within hours of the storm making landfall, officials in Onslow County - which includes the city of Jacksonville, reported "major structural damage to homes, businesses and institutions".

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States of emergency have already been declared in both North and SC.

As the climate warms, the way air moves through the atmosphere can become disrupted, possibly blocking these types of storms in place more often.

Officials have assured them they will be rescued by FEMA teams who are ready to do swift water rescue.

Winds and rain were arriving later in SC, and a few people were still walking on the sand at Myrtle Beach while North Carolina was getting pounded.

The National Hurricane Center says Florence is producing tropical storm-force wind gusts in Florence, South Carolina, about 60 miles from the coast. Gradual weakening is expected throughout the day Friday, with significant weakening predicted over the weekend.

More than 12,000 people were in shelters in North Carolina and 400 in Virginia, where the forecast was less dire.

As of 3 a.m., Florence hadn't moved and was still centered about 35 miles (55 kilometers) east of Wilmington, North Carolina.

Florence also blew down trees, including one that went through the roof of Kevin DiLoreto's home in Wilmington.

In a display of the early effects of the storm, one flood gauge on the Neuse River in New Bern, North Carolina, showed 10 feet (three meters) of flooding, the NHC said.

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