Hurricane Warnings are in effect from the
A tropical storm warning is in effect from
Duke Energy says damage from Hurricane Florence could cut off electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and the outages could last for weeks.
The country's No. 2 power company said Wednesday that it's anticipating 1 million to 3 million homes and businesses could lose power for lengthy periods, depending on the storm's track.
Duke Energy North Carolina President
The company says it's already is shifting thousands of power workers from its Midwest and
State elections Executive Director
She also reminded them that printed ballots need to go out to military and absentee voters by
Hurricane Matthew hit
About two dozen
Swift-water search-and-rescue teams from
An official from
Two major home-supply chains have activated emergency response centers this week to track Hurricane Florence and get supplies to stores before and after the storm.
The companies say they plan to open their stores as soon as possible after the storm, and both are posting updates on store closures on their sites.
Home hardware stores are bursting with business as residents in Southern states that could be affected by Hurricane Florence are trying to protect their property.
Ace Hardware managers
Roberts says the store sold hundreds of gas cans and ran out of generators, but still had bottled water, sand bags and other items.
But he says now it's time for the employees themselves to get their own homes ready.
They also need to rest up, Roberts says, because the stores are "going to be just as busy with cleanup once this thing is gone."
Crews started preparing cranes on office building construction sites in
Two cranes collapsed in
McMaster told reporters Wednesday that the storm could bring more rain to the state than 1989's devastating Hurricane Hugo.
McMaster has ordered much of the state's coastline evacuated, reversing some lanes of a major interstate to direct all traffic inland.
Forecasters warned as much as 15 inches (38 centimeters) could fall in some portions of the state through at least Monday.
The head of the state's
Two of the nation's largest motor speedways have opened their vast campgrounds to Southerners escaping Hurricane Florence, part of a patchwork of shelters across the region serving as a last refuge for storm evacuees.
But gas shortages and jammed freeways loomed for evacuees seeking safety in far-away shelters, campgrounds and hotels. In
Portions of the
Jones said there's currently no need for evacuations in the
(This item has been edited to correct the storm strength to category 3, not category 4).
It's a potentially catastrophic Category 3 storm with 125 mph (205 kph) maximum sustained winds.
Some fluctuations in strength are expected through Thursday morning.
Pence's office said in a news release Wednesday that Pence would visit the Delta Air Lines TechOps facility in
The TechOps facility provides aviation maintenance to Delta and services its fleet.
As motorists try to get away from the path of Hurricane Florence they are learning that some service stations are running out of gasoline.
DeHaan says there is plenty of gasoline in the region, but getting it from distribution terminals to stations is a challenge.
He says the situation is exacerbated because "everyone wants it at the same time."
By midday Wednesday, 5 percent of stations in
DeHaan says truck stops and major chains with bigger supply systems are more likely to have gas than small stations.
Some airports in the Carolinas are shutting down as Hurricane Florence approaches, and
American said Wednesday that it has stopped flying at
American plans to stop flights in
Most of the closures will run through Sunday, with a few lifting after Saturday.
American says it's seeing no impact at its big hub in
Forecasters say the
Storms this strong usually generate waves of 40 feet to 50 feet (12 to 15 meters).
But Landsea say the waves won't be anywhere in the same ballpark when they reach shore because they get smaller as the water gets shallower.
He also says that there is a chance that radar misinterpreted rain as an 83-foot wave.
Two swift-water rescue teams including local firefighters from 22 communities have gone to
Soldiers based in
More than 60 people are participating in the deployments.
A program that provides health care benefits to military families and retirees is making it easier to get care during evacuations related to Hurricane Florence.
TRICARE says this means beneficiaries from 40 counties in those states may see a provider in any location without a referral from their primary care provider.
The waiver is in effect until
In a news release Wednesday, Gov.
Deal's declaration Wednesday covers comes as the
No storm watches or warnings are in effect for
Deal's emergency declaration cited potential "changes in the storm's trajectory" as well as an influx of evacuees coming to
Airlines are starting to cancel more flights as Hurricane Florence approaches the Southeast coast.
At midday Wednesday, tracking service FlightAware said more than 400 U.S. flights scheduled for Thursday had been canceled, most of them in the Southeast.
The numbers are sure to rise as airlines begin cutting flights scheduled for Friday and Saturday. Airlines typically wait until about 24 hours before takeoff before canceling a flight.
The shelters at
The facilities will provide only basic services, so anyone reporting to one is encouraged to bring supplies including a personal emergency kit, medications and medical equipment.
The statement says 24 localities across the state are opening local shelters as well. Cities and counties have been distributing information about those sites through their websites and social media pages.
Current forecast models have the hurricane shifting south. Previously,
Pennington says he is still leaning toward staying put, but that he'll keep a really close eye on the weather and leave by Thursday afternoon if necessary.
He says one reason for staying is that his wife would be available to help if needed at the local animal hospital where she works.
Trump is telling residents, "Don't play games with it. It's a big one."
The president made his comments in a videotaped message from the
Trump says the federal government and first responders stand ready to assist, but even so, "bad things can happen when you're talking about a storm this size."
Trump is telling people in the Carolinas and
The steady shift South that forecasters are expecting for Hurricane Florence has areas once thought to be in the clear worried. In
Baxley says a direct hit from
Forecasters say conditions are still good for already powerful Hurricane Florence to strengthen a little as it moves over very warm waters.
But in a forecast discussion on the center's website Wednesday, Stewart stressed the weaker winds will not diminish hazards from the storm.
Stewart says the impacts of the storm will cover a wide area "regardless of exactly where the center of
Federal regulators are reviewing preparations for nuclear plants in the Carolinas as Hurricane Florence approaches the coast.
The NRC says Duke Energy's
Duke says it has a procedure to begin shutting down plants at least two hours before the arrival of hurricane-force winds. Duke also operates three nuclear plants in
The mayor of a town outside
Haynie says local buses in the
Haynie says residents "can take control of your destiny by getting of the way of this dangerous storm."
Cooper spoke at a news conference Wednesday morning with other emergency management officials. The governor said there's still time for coastal residents to evacuate if their home is at risk and time for others to finish preparing for the storm.
Cooper says "disaster is at the doorstep, and it's coming in."
The governor added that "a lot of people that might normally stay through a hurricane have recognized that this one is different."
Shelters began opening Tuesday and more will open Wednesday.
Cooper says state flood plain experts have been modeling the storm's projected impacts and found that from the storm surge alone, tens of thousands of structures are expected to be flooded.
The governor also announced he had activated more
The mayor of a
To the city's roughly 32,000 residents, Bethune says
Dozens of airmen are assembling at a
Forecasters say Hurricane Florence is generating enormous waves, as high as 83 feet (25 meters) as it makes its way toward the
The huge waves are being produced because currents are trapped by very strong winds moving in the same direction the storm's motion. The center's Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch is tweeting about the phenomenon.
The center of the storm is about 485 miles (785 kilometers) out to sea, with tropical-storm-force winds extending outward up to 175
miles (280 kilometers).
Forecasters say Hurricane Florence is expected to steadily slow down as it makes its way toward the
It's a potentially catastrophic Category 4 storm with 130 mph (215 kph) maximum sustained winds.
Some strengthening is forecast through Wednesday night, drawing energy from the warm water. Its winds could approach Category 5 strength, which means winds of 157 mph (253 kph) or higher.
Forecasters said Wednesday that
The "cone of error" in the forecast track only predicts where the storm's center might go, and even on its edges, winds can push a powerful storm surge into shore dozens of miles from where
As Graham says, "just because you have a landfall to your south doesn't mean you're out of the woods, because the winds are huge around this system."
Merkley provided no evidence for his suggestion that the money came from hurricane response funds.
He says the time to flee Hurricane Florence is now. Landfall was expected sometime late Thursday and
"Today's the day," he said. "It's time for our citizens to be a part of the team. Heed those warnings and evacuate if you're in one of the zones."
Byard told a news conference at
The mayor of a
Tecklenburg said his flood-prone city is preparing for "copious rain" by clearing out the city's drainage system and getting boats and portable pumps ready. Many areas in the low-lying city flood with routine rain storms, causing street closures and detours.
That's saying a lot, given the impacts from Hurricanes Diana, Hugo, Fran, Bonnie, Floyd, and Matthew.
With predicted rainfall measured in feet not inches, forecasters say people living along creeks and rivers in the Carolinas should move to higher ground well ahead of the storm's arrival.