'Take a Listen!': Hurricane Florence Rages Off NC Coast, Battering Offshore Tower

Dramatic Change In Path Projected As Cat 4 Hurricane Florence Closes In On Coast

This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding.

Florence has it all: Hot ocean temperatures that fuel hurricanes.

"A slow westward to west-southwestward motion is expected Friday night and Saturday". The center of Florence will approach the coasts of North and SC later tonight, then move near or over the coast of southern North Carolina and northeastern SC on Friday.

On an island like Puerto Rico, which has limited health care and other types of infrastructure, a hurricane's downstream effects can prove even more devastating than the initial surge.

And don't be fooled by the fact that Florence has weakened slightly to a strong Category 2 hurricane. In a 2 p.m. advisory, forecasters said sustained winds remained at 60 miles per hour, down from 75 miles per hour Monday.

Hurricane Florence started to hammer U.S. East Coast on Thursday, with formidable wind, rain and storm surge.

Florence is located about 155 miles (250 kilometers) east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, packing maximum sustained winds of 100 mph (155 km/h), the Miami-based weather forecaster said. It could stall just off the coast and then drift south along the SC coast and possibly make a landfall as a weaker system if it doesn't make it clearly over the coast of North Carolina.

In addition, the threat of storm surges looms for areas in the path of the storm, meaning life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland is possible in the next 36 hours.

The storm's eye was about 145 miles southeast of Wilmington as of 11 a.m., the briefing said. So to put the storm's size into focus, on Thursday morning, a tweet from South Carolina's Emergency Management Division brought this perspective on Florence's sheer size: It's "larger than SC and North Carolina combined". Those four storms are brewing at the same time Hurricane Olivia is pounding Hawaii.

More news: Hurricane Florence strengthens to Category 4

"Little change in strength is expected before the center reaches the coast, with weakening expected after the center moves inland", the briefing said.

As Hurricane Florence brings trillions of gallons of water ashore, the storm is headed straight for some of the largest concentrations of hog farms in the county.

The storm is also predicted to bring historic rainfall of up to 35 inches to the Wilmington region.

Hurricane Florence is slamming a region that is economically diverse as well as sizable. The National Weather Service said about 5.25 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million in places covered by tropical storm warnings or watches. "We're about to be in the thick of it".

High tides could be as much as 3 feet above normal in Harford, Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties and in Baltimore City from Friday night through Saturday.

The National Hurricane Center Tuesday afternoon increased its rainfall forecast to 15 to 25 inches of rain and 35 inches in isolated spots.

And Florence will nearly surely depress auto production in SC, where Volvo already has closed a new factory near Charleston because it's in an area under mandatory evacuation orders, said spokesman Russell Datz.

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

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