Hurricane Florence looms over East Coast — WHAT'S HAPPENING

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USA media say more than one million people have been ordered to evacuate. But authorities warn Florence has an enormous wind field as it zeroes in on the Southeast U.S. coast, raising the risk of the ocean surging on to land and making Florence extremely risky.

Even in downgrading Florence, which is expected to crash into the Carolinas late Thursday night or early Friday, the National Hurricane Center predicted "life-threatening storm surge", "catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding", and "damaging hurricane-force winds".

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It is also a very large storm, with hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles (110 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km).

The storm is moving toward the northwest at 17 miles per hour (28 kph), the NHC said.

Officials say the hurricane could bring more than 1,000 millimeters of rain to some areas through early next week and cause storm surges of almost 4 meters.

Patio furniture is seen in the pool in an effort to keep it from flying away as people prepare ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence on September 12, 2018 in Myrtle Beach.

"Don't concentrate on the exact forecast track of Hurricane Florence", the National Weather Service warned. "Don't play games with it".

SC authorities said law enforcement officers were guarding against looting in evacuated areas, while Wilmington set a curfew on Saturday evening in response to looting in one area.

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"It's not the middle of a hurricane yet, so why not come for a beer?" said Waters, 54. At this time, Florence was a Category 2 hurricane. The two hardware chains said they sent in a total of around 1,100 trucks.

Millions of people were expected to lose power from the storm and restoration could take weeks.

Computer simulations - especially the often star-performing European model - push the storm further south, even into SC and Georgia.

"Hurricane Florence is a massive storm that's going to require a massive response", said Tim Pettit, a Duke Energy spokesperson. The last major hurricane to impact the Carolinas was Hugo in 1989.

People in areas vulnerable to the risky hurricane, particularly those in coastal regions, have fled ahead of the storm.

"We are. coordinating closely with state and local officials to help ensure the safety of our employees and our property prior to the storm's landfall", CSX spokesman Christopher Smith said.

"It was pitch black and I was just scared out of my mind", said Tracy Singleton, who with her family later drove through torrential rain and high winds from her home near New Bern.

The storm has pretty much followed the forecast track through now, but the issue will be Thursday or Friday as it nears the coast and the steering currents collapse.

The White House said President Donald Trump approved making federal funding available in some affected counties. Similar declarations were made earlier in North and South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. Most other beachgoers were long gone. "You feel like you should have already left".

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