Hurricane Florence's winds and rain begin lashing Carolinas

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The latest forecast models for Hurricane Florence indicate it is now likely to dump rain on parts of NY and CT early next week. It's expected to bring tropical storm conditions and up to 5 inches of rain across the Windward Islands, Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico.

The storm is not expected to change much in strength before making landfall, but states up and down the East Coast have a great potential for severe weather.

"I came to video it so I can remember what it looked like before the storm because I just don't think a lot of this is going to be here (after Florence)", she said.

Computer models of exactly what the storm might do varied, adding to the uncertainty.

Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the governors of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Maryland have declared states of emergency.

The Coast Guard said ocean-going vessels were told to prepare to leave. "Plus, you get paid".

"There was no gas yesterday", says Rebecca Segool of Wilmington, N.C. This includes Wilmington. A hurricane watch extends into the Charleston area.

DeHaan says there's plenty of supply at regional gasoline storage facilities, but the urgent need is making it hard for tanker trucks to refill and then resupply gas stations.

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Elgin Fire Chief Dave Schmidt said members would go only if requested with no self-dispatch allowed.

Clearing the roads of hurricane-blown debris could take a couple of days or even weeks, says Dorf, depending on the severity the storm.

Row upon row of empty shelves are visible in CNN news footage, as residents threatened by mega-storm Hurricane Florence stockpile essentials including food, water and batteries.

Tropical Storm Florence was downgraded from a unsafe Category 1 storm Friday, but millions have still been affected.

"It's likely that the biggest impact will be to the Charlotte airport, which is an American Airlines hub".

Nationwide, about 2,090 flights had been canceled from Wednesday through Sunday, flight-tracking service FlightAware counted as of 10 a.m. ET on Friday. "If the storm continues its path inland, we could see disruption at (Atlanta) Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport".

Four linemen from Naperville are among thousands of workers across the country being mobilized to restore electric service once it's known what damage Hurricane Florence causes in the Carolinas. The gradually slowing but still life-threatening storm is moving northwest at 15 miles per hour (24 kph). Most other beachgoers were long gone. Parts of the Carolinas could see 50 cm to 76 cm, with isolated areas getting 101 cm, over seven days along the coast. Then, it will likely hover along the coast Saturday, pushing up to 13 feet (nearly 4 meters) of storm surge and dumping 20 to 30 inches (50 to 75 centimeters) of rain on both states, before slogging over the Appalachian Mountains.