Five Killed as Florence Hammers the Carolinas

Here's how large Hurricane Florence is compared to Kentucky

Here's how large Hurricane Florence is compared to Kentucky

Hurricane Florence's leading edge battered the Carolina coast Thursday, bending trees and shooting frothy sea water over streets on the Outer Banks, as the hulking storm closed in with 100 miles per hour (155 kph) winds for a drenching siege that could last all weekend.

A hurricane watch is in effect for Edisto Beach South Carolina to South Santee River South Carolina. As of Thursday, almost a dozen airports have shut down, with more than 1,000 flights being canceled.

While the strength of Hurricane Florence was downgraded to a Category 2 by meteorologists overnight, House warned that the power of the storm could still have a big impact on Wrightsville Beach.

Forecasters said conditions will continue to deteriorate as the storm pushes ashore early Friday near the North Carolina-South Carolina line and makes its way slowly inland.

Because landfalling hurricanes commonly spawn twisters, a tornado watch was issued for eastern North Carolina.

In Jacksonville, North Carolina, officials had rescued more than 60 people overnight from a hotel that was collapsing in the storm.

FlightAware expects the number of cancellations to rise, although "the limited number of hubs being impacted by Florence will likely limit the scale of disruption that cascades through the national air travel system", spokeswoman Sara Orsi said in a statement.

Scientists said it is too soon to say what role, if any, global warming played in the storm.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper urged people to take the storm seriously.

Hungary rebuked by European Union lawmakers
The Czech government stands behind Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban , Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on Thursday. Orban has said the mostly Muslim refugees pose an existential threat to Europe's Christian civilisation.

US Border Patrol agent arrested in 4 deaths, described as ‘serial killer’
Ortiz fled and was found hiding in a truck in a hotel parking lot in Laredo, about 235 kilometres southwest of San Antonio. Border Patrol agent is in custody in connection with the killings of four women and the kidnapping of a fifth in Texas.

OneShot: Florence, A Silent View From Space
Watching the scene unfold from space, German Alexander Gerst, an astronaut on board the ISS, tweeted photos of the enormous storm. With Hurricane Florence churning toward the East Coast, NASA released a stunning video and photos of the storm from space.

In Fayetteville, a North Carolina city of about 210,000 people about 90 miles inland, authorities told thousands of residents near the Cape Fear River and Little River to get out of their homes by Sunday afternoon because of the flood risk.

The latest storm surge has some areas under over 8 feet of water.

Nearly 800,000 people are reported to be without power already in North Carolina, and officials have warned restoring electricity could take days or even weeks.

"Floodwaters may enter numerous structures, and some may become uninhabitable or washed away", the Weather Service warned. Areas further from the coast could see 6-12in of rain. The surge won't be as bad as it potentially could have been, however, and the winds won't be as strong. 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.

"We can't get a bucket truck out there when tropical storm winds are still blowing", she said.

"This is not going to be a glancing blow", Byard said, warning of power outages, road closures, infrastructure damage and potential loss of life.

A power outage model run at the University of MI projects that 3.2 million customers will be without electricity because of the storm, mostly in the eastern half of North Carolina. By the time the storm reaches Charlotte on Saturday, the winds will have slowed down significantly, with gusts expected around 40 miles per hour.

Flight cancellations began on Wednesday, with hundreds of flights affected through to at least Friday and likely into the weekend as well.

New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has advised that there are now 96 New Zealanders officially registered with SafeTravel as being in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

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