Hurricane Florence won't just leave fallen trees and flooded streets in its wake.
Outside of the wind, the broad circulation of the storm will allow for a storm surge north of the center of circulation heading into Friday.
Long said people in storm-damaged areas need to "get their mindset right".
North Carolina's Emergency Management tweeted that more than 154,000 homes were already without electricity by late Thursday.
More than a million people along the coastlines of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia have been ordered to evacuate. It then will move near or over the coast of southern North Carolina and eastern SC in the hurricane warning area later Thursday and Friday. The storm may gradually drift into northeast SC. "The larger and the slower the storm is, the greater the threat and the impact-and we have that". That's down from a high of 140mph, but still expected to cause "life-threatening storm surge and rainfall".
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The Category 1 storm forced ABC affiliate WCTI 12 in New Bern to evacuate during a live broadcast.
Homeless after losing her job at Walmart three months ago, 25-year-old Brittany Jones went to a storm shelter at a high school near Raleigh. The slow forward motion means Florence will batter the area with heavy rainfall, producing up to 40 inches in coastal North Carolina and northeastern SC.
Power suppliers report more than 350,000 outages in North Carolina, the bulk along the coast.
With the hurricane beginning to batter North Carolina, the state's Governor has asked US President Donald Trump for another federal disaster declaration beyond what he declared earlier this week. These are numbers that far exceed what fell on the same region during Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
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Family members, like other residents, expect to be bombarded with torrential rain possibly for days. Almost 14 million people are under a flash flood watch, meaning water levels could rise swiftly at any moment. It came as rivers swelled, tides crested and the rain wouldn't stop.
Hurricane Florence made landfall outside Wilmington, North Carolina, about 7:15 a.m. on Friday as a Category 1 storm. "When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths". But he expected to be able to ride the storm out. The still-soggy storm could drop several inches of rain on northern Georgia and eastern Tennessee as it turns north.
"This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding", the hurricane center said.
Forecasters' European climate model is predicting 2 trillion to 11 trillion gallons of rain will fall on North Carolina over the next week, according to meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com. For a depiction of areas at risk, please see the National Weather Service Storm Surge Watch/Warning Graphic, available at hurricanes.gov.
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