Hurricane Florence is closing in. The Category 2 storm began to hit the southeastern coastline Thursday, as the hurricane's outer rain bands crept close enough to affect North and South Carolina's outermost towns.
The storm weakened slightly overnight, but forecasters still expect top sustained winds of 105 miles per hour and heavy rains that could bring catastrophic damage. Power outages have already begun, reports The Associated Press, with about 12,000 outages along the North Carolina coast. Power companies predict outages for up to 3 million customers.
Florence is still about 100 miles off the coast, and is expected to make landfall late Thursday or early Friday. The strong winds are visible from Frying Pan Tower, an old lighthouse about 35 miles from the coast of North Carolina that is livestreaming a view of the incoming storm.
Officials are warning that Florence could bring historic and life-threatening devastation. "This storm is a monster," said North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D). "It's big and it's vicious." The last open route for residents who have not yet evacuated North Carolina's Hatteras Island is now closed, while other towns reported completing evacuations. Repair crews said it could be several days before they enter the area to evaluate recovery needs. Read more at The Associated Press. Summer Meza