Wilmington (United States) – The east coast of the United States has only a few hours to wait before the arrival of Hurricane Florence, which is still a little out of breath but remains extremely dangerous because it drains torrential rains and a risk of catastrophic floods.
"Rains of rainy gales with winds of tropical storm arrive on the shores of the Outer Banks in North Carolina", said Thursday the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in its bulletin of 8:00 (12:00 GMT).
"Rising waters and potentially fatal rainfalls are expected"he warned.
The eye of the hurricane – which was downgraded in the night of Wednesday to Thursday in category 2 (175 km / h), on a Saffir-Simpson scale which has five– "will be approaching the coasts of North and South Carolina later today".
It threatens millions of people on the coast and inland because, in addition to rising sea level (up to nearly 4 meters), it is waterlogged (up to a meter rain). It was moving at 20 km / h but should slow down, so pour out its rains over the same areas.
"We are totally ready for Hurricane Florence, while the storm is still growing and more powerful. Be careful!", tweeted Thursday morning President Donald Trump.
About 1.7 million people were asked to shelter far from the coastline of South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. These three states on the Atlantic coast are the most threatened, but Georgia has also decreed Wednesday, the state of emergency to unlock material means as a precaution.
Wilmington, a seaside resort in North Carolina with just over 100,000 inhabitants, has prepared for the impact. Thursday morning, Florence was 275 km from the coast.
The streets were almost deserted Wednesday already, shops and homes caulked behind plywood planks, emptied supermarkets and dry gas pumps.
"Wilmington remains welded","Flo, you're not welcome here", could be read on the front of the bar Tavern Law.
Calls to quickly evacuate areas at risk increased on Wednesday. "After today, it will be really late. Do not wait the last minute", launched Brenda Bethune, the mayor of Myrtle Beach, the famous seaside resort of South Carolina.
In a mobile home camp in the suburbs of Wilmington, locals were preparing to leave after protecting windows and doors. "I have two children and I want to take them as far as possible from here and the dangers of the hurricane", told AFP Alondra Espinoza.
Solange Iliou Thompson, owner of the restaurant Indochine, chose to stay even if its establishment is closed, lack of manpower.
"I stay here, the building is solid, I have no worries, the Buddha will protect us", testified this Vietnamese-Breton, settled for more than 40 years in the United States.
"There is nothing to do, we can not stop Mother Nature"She added, as the wind began to rise on Wilmington early Wednesday afternoon.
"I downloaded Korean movies to pass the time and we have something to do with the wine and restaurant reservations"she explained.
300 km further south, Charleston also had irreducibles.
"I did HugoA 50-year-old electrician at a gas station in Charleston, a tourist town in South Carolina, told AFP, referring to the hurricane that ravaged the state in 1989. "There will be a little more water but we will get by, I trust. We have everything we need, we are ready".
Florence is goingto be like a live Mike Tyson on the coastCaroline, warned Jeff Byard, head of the Federal Agency for Emergency Management (Fema).
According to electricity supplier Duke Energy, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, between one and three million users could be affected by power cuts in the two states of Carolina, and the repairs could last several weeks.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal Explained Wanting "mobilize all available resources"to cope with high winds and heavy rain.