The rain turned sideways Thursday, rivers swelled and floodwaters began to fill streets, as massive Hurricane Florence trudged toward North Carolina. "We're still going to have a Category 4 storm surge", CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference that the "historic" hurricane would unleash rains and floods that would inundate nearly the entire state in several feet of water.
There are fears that this storm could cause damage similar to what Houston suffered during Hurricane Harvey previous year, when homes and businesses were inundated with floodwater.
"This is a very risky storm", Long said.
Zookeepers and veterinarians resolved to hunker down with the creatures and see them through the storm. A Category 5 hurricane (which means winds of 157 miles per hour or higher) is more likely to destroy a building, but heavier rainfall makes it easier to drown in that building.
According to the National Weather Service, storm surges occur when hurricane winds blow along the surface of the ocean and cause water to build up as the storm gets closer to the shoreline.
Winds bent trees toward the ground and raindrops flew sideways as Florence moved in for an extended stay, with enough of its killer winds swirling overseas to maintain its power.
Hurricane warnings are in effect for the South Santee River in SC to Duck, North Carolina, and Albemarle and Pamlico sounds. "The larger and the slower the storm is, the greater the threat and the impact - and we have that".More news: Ariana Grande Posts Heartbreaking Tribute To Mac Miller
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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. In some counties, almost 1 in 3 people live below the poverty line.
More than 10 million people are under watches and warnings, the Associated Press reported.
The hurricane was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as sluggish and unprepared for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico a year ago.
But even so, Floyd dumped two feet of rain on North Carolina.
"Either no (hotel) rooms are available, or we are denied because the breed or size of dogs", she said. They also have three dogs and three parrots.
Schools and businesses closed as far south as Georgia, airlines canceled more than 1,500 flights, and coastal towns in the Carolinas were largely emptied out.
About 10 million people live in the path of the slow-moving storm and more than 1 million had been ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia, jamming westbound roads and highways for miles. "And the vast majority of the time they are OK", she said. We will continue to see lingering showers and storms to start the work week.
Those surges alone are projected to cause inland flooding of more than 9 feet in cities like New Bern, North Carolina, even without the expected 15 to 20 inches of rain.
Despite reassurances from FEMA and Trump, Florence's fluctuations and course-change predictions have added to the difficulties of preparing for such a massive storm.