Hurricane Florence lashes Carolinas, heavy rain leads to floods

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Its landfall may be over southern parts of North Carolina affecting North and SC as well as Virginia by Friday morning local time.

While the storm has since weakened, a storm surge of more than 12-feet and almost 30-inches of rain is still expected.

The presenter starts by showing which regions of the States will be most affected by the storm surge, including Beaufort, Atlantic Beach and Morehead City, which are expected water rises of between 6 and 9 ft.

Computer models of exactly what the storm might do varied, adding to the uncertainty. "Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles (130 km) from the centre and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles (315 km)".

In Murrell's Inlet, South Carolina, Mikey Zalloum of Uncle Mikey's Brick Oven Pizza sweated as he worked feverishly to make pies Thursday night.

But it will be the rain and flash flooding that likely will have the most devastating impact, officials said.

AccuWeather hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski said: "If Florence fails to move inland right away, it could remain as a hurricane or major hurricane much longer than usual, due to proximity to warm ocean water".

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"It doesn't matter where you are", he said.

The storm's maximum sustained winds were clocked at 175kmph late on Wednesday, down from a peak of 225kmph a day earlier, before it was downgraded to a Category 3 and then a Category 2.

The outer bands of Hurricane Florence drenched the Carolinas on Thursday, flooding roads, gorging rivers and knocking out power in an ominous glimpse of the damage the storm could inflict when it makes landfall on Friday with millions of people in its path. This will likely lead to power outages across the area.

The center of Florence is expected to approach the coasts of the Carolinas today and move over the coast of southern North Carolina and eastern SC tonight and Friday.

To put the rain in perspective, Wilmington's three-day rainfall record was 19.66 inches set in 2010, said Jordan Baker, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Office in Wilmington. "Significant river flooding is expected as a result of excessive rainfall across area hydrologic basins". It says the threat of freshwater flooding will increase in coming hours and days from the storm's heavy rains. "Doing so will place your life and the lives of first responders in harm's way", said Col. Glenn McNeill, commander of the N.C. State Highway Patrol. "The combination of a risky storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline".

"I've never seen the president and all these other people talk the way they're talking", he said while waiting for an evacuation bus.

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