Georgia governor declares state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Florence

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In addition to the dangers the expected deluge of water poses, the hurricane center cautioned, "A few tornadoes are possible in eastern North Carolina beginning late Thursday morning".

"The eye of Florence remains very distinct in infrared satellite imagery this morning".

But the storm is 500 to 600 miles wide and may stall over several states.

Georgia's governor has declared a state of emergency on Wednesday for all Georgia counties as Hurricane Florence nears certain parts of the state. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), for instance, has been in "close communications" with both projects, along with its erosion and sediment control contractors, emergency response staff and federal regulators, agency spokesperson Ann Regn told NGI.

"You'd have to expect, just based on the forecast, that it's going to be a significant impact to businesses", including prolonged disruptions, said Rick Miller, head of the US property practice at Aon Plc.

Up to 3 million of Duke Energy's 4 million Carolina customers could experience outages, the company said.

- Winds could exceed 80 miles per hour from Thursday to Saturday. "We are ready for the big one that is coming!"

Coastal residents fleeing a potentially devastating blow from Hurricane Florence encountered empty gasoline pumps and depleted store shelves as the monster storm neared the Carolina coast with 140 miles per hour (225 kph) winds and drenching rain that could last for days. Fountain said they are trained every five weeks on weather issues and how to shut down the unit. Till now as many as 1.7 million people have evacuated the region. It pushed natural gas demand down about 2% (roughly 1 Bcf/d) below pre-storm levels, according to Genscape Inc. The planes fly for between eight and 12 hours at a time, using an array of equipment to study wind strength (by dropping Global Positioning System instruments through the clouds), ocean temperature, and more. The image is from September 11, 2018.

Some areas are expected to see between 20 and 30 inches of rain through early next week in the area shaded in purple in the second image above.

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"There is a chance it only potentially grazes the coast and just has most of the hurricane remain offshore, in which case it would continue to be over warm water", she said.

The shift south and west will encompass more of SC and western North Carolina. Florence, the most ominous for USA residents, is expected to make landfall today.

"A storm with the track of Florence is unprecedented".

In Columbia, South Carolina, Barry Sparks, a 66-year-old retiree, was thinking of getting out after the path of the storm shifted somewhat to the south.

Flight Director Paul Flaherty is preparing to fly into Hurricane Florence for a fourth time, and said he hopes to bring back good news, but so far, there's been no signs of that from the sky.

USA insurers are bracing for what could be $20 billion in losses as Hurricane Florence barrels toward the Carolinas and Virginia, bringing punishing rains and potentially deadly flooding.

Communities along the Carolina coast buttoned up against the onslaught of Hurricane Florence as forecasters Wednesday warned that the monstrous storm could hesitate just offshore for days - punishing a longer stretch of coastline harder than previously feared - before pushing inland over the weekend.

"So right now, we're thinking it's going to be tropical-storm-force conditions for the Beaufort area, but I would not rule out the potential for hurricane force winds or hurricane force conditions for Beaufort County".