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The trend is "exceptionally bad news", said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy, since it "smears a landfall out over hundreds of miles of coastline, most notably the storm surge". The biggest threats from Hurricane Florence are life-threatening storm surge, devastating flash-flooding, and hurricane-force winds.

Industrial waste, including toxic ash from power plants, could also be spread by flooding from the massive storm, which has caused mandatory evacuations of coastal areas in both Carolinas and Virginia, the AP reports.

Three other named storms are now swirling in the Atlantic, with Florence remaining the most risky.

Life-threatening storm surges of up to 13 feet (4m) have been forecast in some areas when the monster storm eventually makes landfall in North and SC.

Hurricane Florence brought a storm surge of some 3 meters (10 feet) as it began battering the USA east coast early on Friday.

The National Hurricane Center states that these storm surges are highly likely along portions of the coastlines of North Carolina and SC.

"This is an absolute life-threatening scenario". As the recovery from past storms continues in many rural towns, the next storm is about to strike.

Wilmington is likely to receive upwards of 20 inches of rainfall over the next several days.

Florence's center may linger for another whole day along the Carolinas' coast - punishing homes with crushing winds and floods and endangering those who've stayed behind.

Shelters in the city were filling and some people were being bused inland to Raleigh, even though some residents there were told they might have to evacuate.

Russian Federation says Skripal poisoning suspects are 'civilians'
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed Tuesday that Rowley and Sturgess were also exposed to Novichok. Russian state TV channel Rossiya-24 said the suspect named as Alexander Petrov would maybe speak next week.

Hurricane Florence delivered a slow-motion assault to the coast of North Carolina early Friday, with catastrophic storm surge and torrential rains that will continue for days. "It's something we haven't seen. ever".

"It doesn't matter where you are", he said.

"It can not be emphasized enough that the most serious hazard associated with slow-moving Florence is extremely heavy rainfall, which will cause disastrous flooding that will be spreading inland through the weekend", the National Hurricane Center said in its 5 a.m. update. "We were able to evacuate quite a few; some did not go", he said.

Florence weakens to a tropical storm by Sunday and a depression as it slowly drifts northwest into the Appalachians on Monday.

That said, the storm is still expected to stall once it hits the Wilmington coast, with weather officials early Thursday raising the expected total rainfall for Wilmington to 35 inches - weather officials had predicted 30 inches for Wilmington in briefings released Wednesday. This storm is extremely unsafe.

In all, an estimated 10 million people live in areas expected to be placed under a hurricane or storm advisory, according to the U.S. Weather Prediction Center.

The US president said he had spoken to governors of threatened states, adding that the "federal government stands by, ready to assist 24/7". "Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other unsafe conditions", the hurricane center briefing said.

The contraflow will end Thursday at noon on 501 and at 6 p.m. on I-26.

More than 80,000 people were already without power as the storm began buffeting the coast, and more than 12,000 were in shelters.

FlightAware doesn't anticipate closures at any East Coast hubs (Charlotte, Atlanta or any Washington-area airports), limiting "cascading disruption to the rest of the nation's airport system", Orsi said in a statement Thursday.


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