Models agree that excessive amounts of rain will fall in southeastern North Carolina. "That's the second story of a house", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said Thursday morning. Virginia, in fact, has issued mandatory evacuations for coastal areas of the state. Exactly how bad the storm surge will be with Hurricane Florence remains to be seen, but meteorologists for NBC News are predicting that it could be up to 13 feet-and that is higher than Hurricane Maria, which brought a storm surge of around nine feet to parts of Puerto Rico.
A tornado watch was also in effect for parts of North Carolina.
This same zone will be hammered by winds gusting up to hurricane force for almost a day while tropical-storm conditions could linger twice that long.
The storm's intensity diminished as it neared land, with winds dropping to about 90 miles per hour by nightfall.
Hurricane Florence is now bearing down on the Southeast, specifically the Carolina's, and the slow-moving hurricane has everyone anxious with the amount of rain it could dump, with a potential to cause massive flooding-not to mention the damage from 80 mile-per-hour winds expected later today. Hurricane force winds extended 80 miles from the centre of the storm, while tropical storm force winds extended up to 195 miles.
Gradually, Friday through the weekend (local time), the massive storm - containing a zone of tropical-storm-force winds almost 643km wide - will drift inland, engulfing much of SC and southern North Carolina.
Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it's unclear how many did.
Hurricane Florence, which is nearing the US East Coast, could kill "a lot of people", officials warn. "We have a safe basement and generator that comes on automatically. He is the only caregiver to me and my son", Browning said.
Hurricanes and typhoons not only bring severe coastal flooding via storm surge-they create awful inland flooding as well.
"Even the rescuers can not stay there", he said.
Officials in several states have declared states of emergency, including in the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia and Maryland, where coastal areas are still recovering from summer storms. "Watch out America", he says. "But even worse than that is coming back in because you don't know what you're coming back to".
Florence is one of four named storms in the Atlantic. Elsewhere, Tropical Storm Helene is forecast to pass near the Azores on Saturday, and Tropical Storm Isaac is moving west across the eastern Caribbean. Hurricane Helene is veering toward Ireland and Great Britain.
Where exactly the zone of heaviest rain sets up as the storm meanders inland is more uncertain, but models suggest that it may concentrate in southern North Carolina and northern SC through the weekend.
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