Hurricane Florence's uncertain track puts more than 10 million people at risk

A storm surge prediction map

A storm surge prediction map

The storm is expected to slow down as it approaches the North Carolina-South Carolina coast, which makes landfall timing less certain, according to the National Weather Service.

Florence's nighttime winds were down to 115 miles per hour (185 kph) from a high of 140 miles per hour (225 kph), and the Category 4 storm fell to a Category 3, with a further slow weakening expected as the storm nears the coast.

President Trump on Wednesday said Hurricane Florence, a powerful Category 4 storm barreling toward the East Coast, is "even bigger" than officials expected and warned residents to "get out of its way".

Coastal North Carolina could see 20 to 30 inches as well.

The storm, which is building up over the Atlantic, is due to make landfall in either North or SC within the next few days, and is expected to be the worst storm to hit the area in 30 years. It will be more tropical depression at that point.

At 2 p.m. on September 12, the NHC had storm surge and hurricane warnings in place for most of the North Carolina and SC coast.

At Fort Bragg, an inland Army base in North Carolina, officials told The Fayetteville Observer the majority of the 82nd Airborne Division's helicopter fleet was being evacuated to one of two sites in Georgia.

At 11 a.m., the storm was centered 485 miles (785 kilometers) southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, moving at 15 mph (24 kph). To reinforce the order to evacuate, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said "This is not a storm that you need to try to ride out".

A flawless storm of unfortunate circumstances means Florence will likely be catastrophic for parts of the Southeast.

"This one really scares me", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said.

A year ago, Hurricane Irma had weakened to a tropical storm before hitting Middle Georgia, but hours of strong wind gusts wreaked havoc on some Macon neighborhoods before the weakening depression tracked through Columbus to Alabama.

The National Weather Service issued an ominous warning.

Storm surge is basically a wall of water that could swallow parts of the coast.

"With this storm, what's unique is it's forecast to stall. dropping copious amounts of rainfall across the Carolinas and into Virginia", Long said. Allison Jones said she's not taking any chances.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency for Virginia over the weekend, and on Monday he requested federal assistance and ordered mandatory evacuations of residents of Zone A, Virginia's low-lying coastal areas in Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore. Rain will continue through Sunday, dumping feet of water over a wide area.

"Inland flooding will be a major threat and something people far from the landfall location should be concerned about", CNN's Miller said.

"We've already been flooded three times, but it should be a completely different story this time around", he said.

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