Hurricane Florence: Carolinas brace for 'storm of lifetime'

City taken by one of the Expedition Three crew members on the International Space Stati

Florence will strike the Carolinas overnight into Friday with life-threatening storm surge, destructive winds and massive inland rainfall flooding.

Hurricane Florence is predicted to creep across the coast from North Carolina to SC, drenching a wide area after making landfall late Thursday or early Friday.

Just as Hurricane Florence closes in on the Southeast, the area covered by hurricane-force winds has doubled - meaning far more people will get blasted with winds 74 miles per hour or greater.

About 10 million people live in the storm's path and more than 1 million people had been ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia.

The National Hurricane Center warned the threat of tornadoes was increasing as Florence neared shore and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said the heavy rains could trigger landslides in the western part of his state.

Some regions are expected to receive more than 20 inches of rain from the hurricane and its giant knot of storm clouds.

While the storm may have slowed down slightly, it will still bring life-threatening storm surges, high winds, massive flooding and power cuts as it makes landfall on the coast of North and SC.

"If it happens again, I told my wife, 'We got to go, '" he said.

Maximum water heights caused by Hurricane Florence's storm surge as predicted by the ADCIRC computer model.

That was a bad idea, said Avair Vereen, a local nurse who had sought safety in the shelter with her seven children. Roy Cooper urged residents in evacuation areas of his state to get out while they still can.

The surge will result in "large areas of deep inundation. enhanced by battering waves", the Weather Service said.

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But what makes Florence so different from other storms this year?

Forecasters say Florence will likely turn to the west-northwest and slow down its forward motion - a situation that will bring even more rainfall to the area.

Streams of people are fleeing in cars as Hurricane Florence is expected to lash America with winds of up to 157mph - leaving coastal areas submerged in up to 9ft of water.

Hurricane Florence carries a heavy risk of flash floods as it brings up to 13-foot storm surge and a possible 40 inches of rain to the Carolina coast.

- Though the storm, once a Category 4, was downgraded Thursday night to a Category 1 from a Category 2, the danger is very real.

Because most are managed as wild animals, numerous horses will be left to fend for themselves, said Paula Gillikin of the North Carolina Coastal Reserve.

Because hurricane force winds extend 130 kilometers from the center, people on land will experience sharply deteriorating conditions long before the center reaches the coast. The power companies expect millions of people to be without power for days.

More than 1 million people have been ordered to evacuate - but the window to do so in nearly over.

"I'm not approaching Florence from fear or panic", he said. Cooper said he hopes more shelters will also open today.

- The storm surge is expected to worsen late Thursday and into early Friday during high tide in the Atlantic Ocean.

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