Hurricane Florence: 1000mm of rain forecast for North, South Carolina

Hurricane Florence: 1000mm of rain forecast for North, South Carolina

About 5.25 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million live in places covered by tropical storm warnings or watches, the National Weather Service said.

Forecasts project the center of Florence to make landfall around the South and North Carolina border on Friday as a Category 3 or 4 hurricane.

On Wednesday morning, the storm was about 550 miles from the Carolina coast and remains a Category 4 storm with 130 mph winds.

Utility officials have warned that widespread power outages are likely and that it could take weeks to restore electricity. "Everyone was sold out", she said.

City officials have lowered the water levels at Lake Johnson, Lake Benson and other reservoirs to absorb as much water as possible from the storm, Hall said.

The storms path is promising to bring even more devastation than first predicted to the Carolinas and parts of Georgia.

"And that's saying a lot given the impacts we've seen from Hurricanes Diana, Hugo, Fran, Bonnie, Floyd, and Matthew", the organization said in a statement that was circulated on Twitter.

"This one really scares me", said National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham.

On its current track, Florence is expected to hit the Carolinas and Virginia the hardest, the NHC said. "While we can't attribute this hurricane exclusively to climate change, we do expect these types of intense hurricanes to happen more often as the world warms".

Winds of 40 miles per hour or greater will advance onshore in eastern North Carolina during the day on Thursday.

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Mr Graham said the Pamlico and Neuse rivers in North Carolina will see their flows "reversed" as storm surges push water back inland.

Speaking in the Oval Office alongside Trump, FEMA administrator Brock Long said Hurricane Florence may be a "very devastating storm".

The storm surge - often the most perilous risk to life posed by any hurricane - is expected to inundate areas along the coast with saltwater that's 9-13 feet deep, from Cape Fear, N.C., to Cape Lookout, N.C. Hurricane Florence deserves all the names it's being called as it threatens to cause historic flooding, blow catastrophic winds and idle for days over the Carolinas and the Mid-Atlantic.

"I don't care if this goes down to a Category 1", CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said on Thursday.

Tropical storm-force winds extended 195 miles (315 kilometers) from Florence's center, and hurricane-force winds reached out 70 miles (110 kilometers).

US President Donald Trump declared states of emergency for North and SC and Virginia, opening the way for federal aid.

Florence could do more than $170bn (£130bn) of damage and affect almost 759,000 homes and businesses, says analytics firm CoreLogic.

More than 1.7 million people were warned to evacuate and get out of the way of the "life-threatening" storm's path.

"This is a very unsafe hurricane", Mr McMaster said, adding that the evacuation order for coastal counties was "mandatory, not voluntary".

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