How Hurricanes like Florence Impact Consumer Spending

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Florence weakens to Category 2 hurricane but still life-threatening: NHC | New Hampshire

Florence's rain will reach 40 inches in some parts of the Carolinas, and gusty winds will send the ocean and rivers spilling into neighborhoods, forecasters said.

About 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians have been deployed, with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats.

She said she "could not find anywhere to go" as the family cannot afford multiple hotel rooms. The Army Corps of Engineers was preparing to start work restoring power, installing temporary roofing and removing debris.

At a news conference to discuss hurricane response and recovery early Friday, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi responded to Trump's tweet by saying, "Think about that, pray over that".

As North Carolina residents began to feel the first modest effects of a weakened Hurricane Florence on Thursday, forecasters warned the powerful storm will bring seawater surging onto land and torrential downpours.

But North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper warned: "Don't relax, don't get complacent".

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Hurricane Florence continues to drop category, but not unsafe, while hundreds of thousands of people try to get away from the coasts of the two Carolinas and Virginia. But the danger comes not so much from the wind as from the storm surges, which could raise the sea level to 4 meters in some points and flood the coast.

Florence's winds weakened as it drew closer to land, dropping from a peak of 140 miles per hour (225 kph) earlier in the week, and the hurricane was downgraded from a terrifying Category 4 to a 2.

Travel on the state's roads has grown "extremely hazardous" and will get worse, said Jim Trogdon, the North Carolina transportation secretary.

US Southeast power companies said more than 188,000 homes and businesses in North Carolina and SC were without power early Friday as Hurricane Florence caused a deluge ahead of its landfall later in the day.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry says the US electricity sector has been well prepared for Hurricane Florence even as hundreds of thousands of homes lose power in the storm.

Hurricane Florence rolled ashore in North Carolina with howling 90 miles per hour winds and terrifying storm surge early Friday, trapping hundreds of people in high water as it settled in for what could be a long and extraordinarily destructive drenching. Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles (130 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds reached out 195 miles (315 kilometers).

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Rescue swimmers and other ground crew members will head straight to Raleigh, North Carolina, Macy said. The state said it was seeing at least three times the normal traffic volume on I-26.

As of Wednesday night, Florence's tropical storm force winds were almost 400 miles wide - or the roughly the equivalent of driving from Washington, D.C, to Charlotte, North Carolina; or from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to St. Louis; or from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Hundreds more were rescued elsewhere from rising water.

Authorities in New Bern, a town of about 30,000 people that dates to the early 18th century, said more than 100 people had to be saved from floods and that the downtown area was underwater.

Florence has caused the evacuation of some 1.5 million people with millions more likely to see some impact from the howling winds.

Schools and businesses closed as far south as Georgia, airlines cancelled more than 1,500 flights, and coastal towns in the Carolinas were largely emptied out.

On Thursday, Trump faced criticism for disputing the official death toll in Puerto Rico from Hurricanes Maria and Irma that hit past year.

Bertha Bradley said she has never favored evacuating ahead of hurricanes.

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"The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore winds, where the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves, " it said.

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