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Hurricane Florence pummels Carolinas; residents take shelter

Millions of people in the path of Hurricane Florence are hunkering down Friday as the monster storm pummels North and South Carolina, bringing catastrophic inundations and flooding and forceful, destructive winds.

Here are snapshots of people struggling to cope with the slow-grinding Category 1 storm.

SAFETY A FEW MILES INLAND

Kathy Griffin was hunkering down Friday in a hotel in Wilmington, North Carolina with her husband. They decided to leave their fifth-floor Wrightsville Beach condominium before Hurricane Florence trapped them.

Still, storm conditions were frightful for the retired teacher and realtor.

Griffin said she was jolted awake when the power went off at the hotel as some of the storm’s strongest bands lashed Wilmington with wind and rain.

As she sat in the hotel lobby eating a cold breakfast of bananas, cereal bars, and pastries, she recalled that the decision to heed the mandatory evacuation order for her area wasn’t difficult.

“If you are over there and something bad happens, you’re out of luck,” she said.

She said her Wrightsville Beach unit was insured against flooding and also has glass strong enough to withstand 135 mph winds.

She wasn’t as lucky when a property she owns in Florida was heavily damaged by Hurricane Irma last year.

“We have a house that was destroyed in Irma,” Griffin said. “She came and she went, and it trashed everything inside.”