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Hurricane Florence: Travel Begins To Snarl As Storm Closes In

Hurricane Florence: Travel Begins To Snarl As Storm Closes In

It marks the beginning of a prolonged assault from wind and water, which - by the time it's over - is likely to bring devastating damage and flooding to millions of people in the Southeast.

Florence's top sustained wind speeds dropped from a high of 225kmh to 175kmh as its outer rain bands approached the North Carolina coast early on Thursday.

Computer models of exactly what the storm might do varied, adding to the uncertainty.

But the Miami-based NHC stressed it remained "a life-threatening situation" due to the risks of storm surge around coastal areas.

Forecasters say it could slow dramatically when it nears land and then linger until Saturday, moving unpredictably along the coast and bringing torrential rain.

Normally when we talk about the potential for hurricane damage, we talk about the impact of storm surges and high winds - both of which are, to be sure, incredibly risky in their own right.

Hurricane-force winds now extend up to 80 miles from the eye of the storm, and tropical-storm-force winds now extend up to 195 miles from the center of the storm. These unforgiving winds will damage homes and buildings, down trees and knock out power. In the case of Hurricane Florence, meteorologists emphasize that its greatest threat will come from storm surge and flooding, not the wind.

Florence's hurricane force winds now extends 80 miles from the center, while the tropical storm force winds reaches almost 200 miles, according to the National Hurricane Center. Tropical-storm-force winds are between 39 and 73 miles per hour.

According to a report by the news agency Associated Press, Hurricane Florence threatens to cause historic flooding and blow catastrophic winds.

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Catastrophic river flooding and flash flooding will occur for a large portion of eastern North and SC. It's moving at 15 miles per hour, but as it nears the Carolina coast, it will dramatically slow down.

People look out over the surf before Hurricane Florence comes ashore on Carolina Beach, North Carolina, Sept. 13, 2018. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

"For a meandering storm, the biggest concern - as we saw with Harvey - is the huge amount of rainfall", said Chris Landsea, chief of tropical analysis and forecast branch at the National Hurricane Center.

As a result, state projections for future sea level rise are more modest than the mainstream.

But between evacuations and storm shutter installations, NASA and NOAA are keeping people informed and entertained.

Florence's eye could come ashore early Friday around the North Carolina-South Carolina line.

Instead of pushing directly towards states like West Virgina, Kentucky, or IN (following a generally northwest track from its initial landfall), Florence may now stall out on top of SC before moving west or southwest towards Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. If you're anywhere near the affected regions or have loved ones in the deadly Category 2 storm's path, make sure to keep track of what government and other storm trackers are advising.

"Floodwaters may enter numerous structures, and some may become uninhabitable or washed away", the Weather Service warned.

More than 421,000 South Carolinians have already evacuated from the coast, McMaster said. "I encourage Georgians to be prepared for the inland effects of the storm as well as the ensuing storm surge in coastal areas". Forecasters predict it will make landfall between Thursday and Friday.


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