Hurricane Florence has weakened but will still be devastating

Hurricane Florence hours away from Carolinas

Florence's maximum sustained winds were clocked on Thursday at 105 miles per hour (165 kph).

Luettich and colleagues at the University of Notre Dame and University of Texas spent 30 years developing ADCRIC, a computer model that gauges storm surge and other impacts of major coastal weather events.

Calling the storm surge prediction "incredible", Graham said that because Florence will likely nudge its way onto the coast, giving its hurricane winds lots of time to force water inland, he wouldn't be surprised "to see storm surge a mile, a mile and a half inland - maybe even 2 miles or more, in some cases". Projections as of 5:00am EST on September 13, 2018.

But forecasters warned that the widening storm - and its likelihood of lingering around the coast for days - will bring life-threatening storm surge and torrential rains. Like a giant hair dryer, these winds push seawater into low-lying marshland and delta areas.

Although it's been downgraded to a category two storm with 105mph winds, officials say there could be feet - rather than inches - of rain. It's now predicted to make landfall near Wilmington and then head west across SC. Storm surge of 13 feet on top of a high tide at 7 feet could overwhelm Carolina Beach. That makes it hard to project how the region will ultimately be affected.

The NHC warned the threat of tornadoes was increasing as Florence neared shore and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said the heavy rain could trigger landslides in the west of his state. His group, the Office of Water Prediction and Luettich's team are working together to build such models now.

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In the meantime, "treat the inland flooding just as seriously as you would the storm surge", said Clark.

He added people should not be out during the storm, "but if you are bit by a snake, get to a hospital as soon as possible". The storm, which is expected to be one of the biggest to ever hit North Carolina, South Carolina and parts of Virginia, should be making landfall sometime this weekend.

North Carolina corrections officials said more than 3,000 people were relocated from adult prisons and juvenile centres in the path of Florence, and more than 300 county prisoners were transferred to state facilities.

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. Her team manages 32 wild horses living in the Rachel Carson Reserve near Beaufort, North Carolina.

Baltimore County officials said Thursday that they placed emergency personnel on "high alert" should there be flooding and outages, and urged residents to make preparations just in case. Most of the damage during Hurricane Matthew in 2016 in North Carolina came from inland flooding - 31 people died and almost 100,000 homes were destroyed. Stay on guard. This is a powerful storm that can kill. The latter had to be relocated back to the reserve after the storm.

"You're going to have damaging winds for a longer period of time", senior hurricane specialist Stacy Stewart said in an update from the NHC.

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