The Weather Channel’s green-screen hurricane simulation is terrifying

Jacob Harrelson and his wife Beth install protective plywood on a local business in anticipation of Hurricane Florence in Wilmington N.C. on Wednesday

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Last night the 400-mile wide storm had knocked out power to half a million homes and businesses, and left many people stranded in their flooded homes.

The National Hurricane Center said Florence came ashore near the town of Wrightsville Beach, almost 10 kilometers east of the city of Wilmington, and is now inland near Cape Fear packing sustained winds of 130 kilometers per hour with higher gusts.

Hurricane Florence was downgraded to a Category 1 storm overnight. "This water is through the first floor of your home, into the second", Navarro says.

As Hurricane Florence crashed onto the Carolinas, federal emergency teams prepared themselves to work on a long process of rebuilding the storm-battered landscape it would leave behind.

The storm has sustained wind speeds of 90 miles per hour, and 40 inches of rain could fall over the next few days, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The Weather Channel produced a terrifying Hurricane Florence weather forecast using a visualization to show the horrifying reality of what 9-foot flood waters might look like in North Carolina.

Downed trees, branches on the hurricane-lashed streets of Wilmington, North Carolina. Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles (130 km/h) from its centre, and tropical-storm-force winds reached out to 195 miles (315 km/h).

Officials say 321,000 people are without power in North Carolina as Florence pounds the area.

"Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other unsafe conditions", the hurricane center briefing said. Officials are urging others in its path to follow suit or to prepare for the worst.

Volvo closed its new plant in Charleston, South Carolina, which employs 1,000 people who make the company's S60 sedan.

Winds bent trees towards the ground and raindrops flew sideways as Florence moved in for an extended stay, with enough of its killer winds swirling overseas to maintain its power.

The NHC predicted "catastrophic freshwater flooding" to hit "over portions of North and SC".

About150 people were awaiting rescue in New Bern, N.C. early Friday morning, and multiple news outlets report some 60 people had to be evacuated from a motel in Jacksonville, N.C. overnight after it sustained structural damage as the Category 1 hurricane made landfall. A city spokeswoman Colleen Roberts told WRAL-TV that 200 people have already been plucked to safety. "Conditions will continue to deteriorate with strong winds, heavy rainfall and extreme storm surges".

We wrote up the story, laughed about it, and moved on.

As of 4 a.m., Florence was 30 miles (45 kilometers) east of Wilmington, North Carolina.

More than 10 million people throughout North and SC and Virginia are under a hurricane or tropical storm watch or warning as of Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

"This storm will bring destruction", said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.

Many residents along the coast were issued mandatory evacuations, with forecasters warning of "life-threatening, catastrophic flash flooding".

The now Category 1 storm's intensity diminished as it neared land, with winds dropping to 90 miles per hour (135 kph) by nightfall.

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