Hurricane Florence’s Wrath Begins Thursday In The Carolinas

A sign shows a warning before the approaching Hurricane Florence in Wilmington North Carolina on Sept 12 2018

A sign shows a warning before the approaching Hurricane Florence in Wilmington North Carolina on Sept 12 2018

Hurricane Florence is bigger than the state of North Carolina and four times larger than Ohio.

Time is running short to flee Hurricane Florence, a monster of a storm zeroing in on the southeastern coast of the United States with more than 10 million people in its potentially devastating path.

It then will move near or over the coast of southern North Carolina and eastern SC in the hurricane warning area later Thursday and Friday. Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storms aftermath, it said.

"You put your life at risk by staying", Cooper said.

To back up that point, Graham cited a sobering statistic: "50 percent of the fatalities in these tropical systems is the storm surge - and that's not just along the coast".

The outer bands of wind and rain from Hurricane Florence began lashing North Carolina on Thursday as the monster storm moved in for an extended stay along the Southeastern coast, promising to drench the homes of 10 million people with vast amounts of water. Tropical-storm-force winds are between 39 and 73 miles per hour.

Roslyn Fleming, 56, said her granddaughter was baptized in the inlet near where she lives in the coastal community of Sea Breeze and on Thursday morning she used her iPad to make a video of the scene. As the storm moves inland, Georgia, Virginia and Maryland will also be in peril.

"I'm not approaching Florence from fear or panic", said Brad Corpening, 35, who planned to ride out the storm in his boarded-up delicatessen in Wilmington. "And that will produce a lot of damage as well as prolong the beach erosion".

A man runs past a mandatory evacuation sign before Hurricane Florence comes ashore in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, on Wednesday.

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A hurricane warning is in effect for South Santee River, SC, north to Duck, NC, and the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.

A hurricane-hunter airplane measured 83-foot waves near the eye of Florence, according to a tweet from the National Hurricane Center. Officials are urging others in its path to follow suit, or prepare for the worst.

In the latest update from the NOAA, Florence is just 205 miles off Wilmington Beach and 250 miles off Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Florence is predicted to turn more toward the northwest through Thursday - but then is expected to head more west-northwest and stall a bit over the Carolinas. Florence has weakened a bit over 24 hours, but it's also grown even larger - and it will likely dump torrential rain over North and SC through Monday.

Florence's winds yesterday afternoon were down to 120 miles per hour from a high of 140 miles per hour, and the Category 4 storm fell to a Category 3, with a further slow weakening expected as the storm nears the coast. Shelters in the city were filling and some people were being bused inland to Raleigh, even though some residents there were told they might have to evacuate because of flooding.

Florence has the potential for 1 to 3 feet of rain in places - enough to touch off catastrophic flooding and an environmental disaster, too, if the water inundates the region's many industrial waste sites and hog manure ponds.

As much as 40 inches of rain could fall in some areas, officials have warned. That forecast area also includes part of southwest Virginia. "Not only that, but the wind field actually expands as the center of circulation starts to lose some intensity, you'll start to get hurricane force winds further out from the storm". Tornadoes are possible Thursday in eastern North Carolina.

In the NOAA advisory, it states: "While Florence has weakened below major hurricane intensity, the wind field of the hurricane continues to grow in size".

Although the storm is approaching the USA coastline as a Category 2 hurricane after weakening from a Category 4 storm, that doesn't mean the storm will be gentle.

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