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Millions prepare as Hurricane Florence approaches Southeast coast of the U.S.

Waves slam the Oceana Pier & Pier House Restaurant in Atlantic Beach, N.C., Sept. 13, 2018 as Hurricane Florence approaches the area. (Photo: Travis Long /The News & Observer via AP)

Millions prepare as Hurricane Florence approaches Southeast coast of the U.S.

Coastal North Carolina felt the first bite of Hurricane Florence on Thursday as winds began to rise, a prelude to the slow-moving tempest that forecasters warned would cause catastrophic flooding across a wide swath of the U.S. southeast.

The center of Florence, no longer classified as a major hurricane but still posing a grave threat to life and property, is expected to hit North Carolina’s southern coast Friday, then drift southwest before moving inland on Saturday, enough time to drop feet of rain, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Businesses and homes in the storm’s path were boarded up and thousands of people had moved to emergency shelters, officials said, urging anyone who remained near the coast to flee. Millions were expected to lose power, perhaps for weeks. (Reuters)

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