Hurricane Florence: 'Extremely dangerous' storm to hit US East Coast on Thursday

Upon immediate landfall, the threats are you standard hurricane threats - storm surge, strong winds, tornadoes. Unfortunately, the forecast is for the storm to stall out and drop a ton of rain in the Carolinas.

By noon EDT on Monday, Florence had top sustained winds of 130 miles per hour. That is still a risky, category 4 intensity.

The storm was moving west-northwest at around 15km/h, and was forecast to drench a large swath of the US East Coast running from northern Florida to New Jersey.

Florence has been gaining strength from the Atlantic's warm waters over the past 24 hours.

After the initial threat of damaging hurricane-force winds as the storm hits, flooding becomes a life-threatening concern. The NHC has issued a tropical storm warning for the islands of Martinique, Dominica, and Guadeloupe.

Landfall may come Friday somewhere between Charleston, South Carolina, and Norfolk, Virginia, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

Evacuations have already begun in North and SC, where supermarket shelves have been stripped and petrol stations run dry as people prepare to escape its path.

Up to 30 inches of rain could fall in isolated pockets across North Carolina, Virginia and northern SC through Saturday.

North Carolinians are bracing for impact as Hurricane Florence barrels toward Wilmington with the Piedmont expected to feel the storm's wrath.

Areas along the coast from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout, NC, including The Neuse and Pamlico River, may experience storm surge from 9 to 13 feet.

"I don't think a lot of it has hit yet, because the weathers been the calm before the storm right now", Clark said.

Along the Carolina coasts, marina workers are moving boats to higher ground, and are focused on protecting buildings.

Hurricane Florence is slowing down as its outer bands of wind and rain lash North Carolina's barrier islands. An estimated 250,000 more people from the northern Outer Banks were due to be sent to higher ground starting September 11 at midday. Assorted bad weather advisories stretched from Florida to ME on Tuesday evening. It could even reach category five strength before it hits coastal and inland regions. "We are in a very deadly and important game of chess with Hurricane Florence".

High pressure was expected to block Florence over the weekend, stalling the system over the east coast and allowing for heavy rainfall over the mid-Atlantic. Forecasters also were tracking two other disturbances.

Still, National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham says there is nothing "minor" about this hurricane.

Federal officials begged residents to put together emergency kits and have a plan on where to go. "This is a serious storm and it's going to affect the entire state of Virginia". It's going to destroy infrastructure.

The town of Bluffton said McMaster's order includes the evacuation and closing of hospitals and nursing home facilities.

States of emergency were declared in the Carolinas; Virginia; Washington, DC; and Maryland, where some coastal areas are still recovering from summer storms.

One trusted computer model, the European simulation, predicted more than 45 inches in parts of North Carolina. While the damage at landfall was catastrophic, most of the deaths and damage from Harvey were from the tremendous, record-shattering rain that fell across the Houston metro area, which caused disastrous flooding.

  • Carolyn Briggs